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Fighters are Human, Too, and We Need to Treat Them That Way

  • Published in Interviews

(C) GLORY

“These are the gladiators,” my father is fond of saying, “The people who agree to damage each other for our entertainment and money, and by god we’ll gladly pay them to do this until they are too beat up and brain damaged to do it anymore.” My dad is a fight fan. His favorite fighter is Fedor Emelianenko. He says this not to be crass, but to make a point: who accepts moral culpability for the violence entailed in combat sports? There’s three positions you can take: 1) You unequivocally reject combat sports because you reject violence. 2) You take the position of the opening quote, that the contract signed between the “gladiators” absolves everybody (including the fans who watch) of any moral responsibility for the outcomes and consequences of the fight, or 3) You acknowledge the violence but also appreciate and accept the moral consequences. I hope that if you’re a combat sports fan (and especially if you’re a fighter) that you take the third position.

To begin with, I don’t think that people who sincerely make statements like those above actually believe them. Serious acute or chronic injury, or worse, fatality, is not a permissible contingency held by many, and I would question the motives of those for whom it is. There may be those who genuinely believe in the idea that we shouldn’t feel bad about fighters getting seriously hurt, but I would argue that upholding this belief in even the most extreme circumstances is really testing its limits and challenging the scope and expectations that many fighters have about their own careers. No fighter wants to suffer a career ending injury, or worse, die.

Fighters are human beings. We get to see them get hurt, but we seldom see them suffer--physically, emotionally, and financially. They routinely suffer the types of injuries that most people would occasionally if ever experience and they experience more head trauma on a regular basis than most people ever would in a lifetime. We don’t get to experience and understand the personal sacrifices that they make to pursue their passion: career choices, time spent apart from loved ones, medical expenses, debt. Our insight is limited to a promoter’s media package and information publicized through outlets like this one. Fighters desire a quality of life just like anyone else. They have similar desires to make a living and provide for loved ones, even if this is very hard to do in their line of work. Their choice of profession is driven by a passion that any individual should aspire to find in their own careers.

Thus, to fans who believe that fighters have nothing to feel bad about when they hurt their opponent, why deny them their compassion? Why deny yourself compassion? The martial arts is for many practitioners a form of human expression, and while it is the practice of hand-to-hand combat, its prevalence as a component of the healthy lifestyles of many caring and compassionate individuals demonstrates that it doesn’t have to dehumanize; the countless moments of comradery throughout the span of kickboxing illustrate that. A quasi-Cobra Kai-like philosophy of violence without limits or control is malignant and destructive--and is thankfully not shared by many. Those who truly lack compassion in their hearts or who have a desire to inflict suffering when they step into the ring warrant our concern, not praise. It’s ok to care for the well-being of other people no matter what their chosen profession is.

This is the mentality that was reflected in the actions of Gokhan Saki at Glory 15 and articulated by other fighters in the aftermath of the event--there’s something to be said when professional fighters come forward, express their compassion, and demand the same from the fans. It should be the norm for anyone, fan or fighter. We should maintain the humanity to uplift people and celebrate their value, and we should also denounce voices who would seek to dehumanize, demean, reduce, or commoditize the people who we as fans have given our time, money, and appreciation. It’s the human thing to do.

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GLORY Adds Aikpracha vs. Kraus at GLORY 14

  • Published in Glory

Glory

GLORY has been scooping up talent from across the world left and right but has had some issues when it comes to getting some bigger name Thais under a contract, but all of that has changed as at GLORY 14 in Zagreb Aikpracha will make his debut for the organization against Albert Kraus. This is a huge signing for GLORY as the 28 year old Aikpracha is still in the prime of his career, holding the Lumpinee Stadium Welterweight Championship in 2012.

Aikpracha has been testing the waters outside of Thailand over the past few years, fighting under the banners of La Nuits de Titans, Yokkao, Thai Fight and most recently MAX Muay Thai.

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StillWill Returns For An Official Badr Hari Documentary

  • Published in Kickboxing

If you've been reading the site for a while you are probably well aware of the name Will "StillWill" Prescott. Will has done some of the absolute best kickboxing and Japanese MMA highlight videos that there are in the world and probably ever will be. That has led to him getting a few pretty cool gigs, the latest of which is working with Badr Hari's team to present an unfiltered documentary about Badr Hari himself. The promise is that it will look at his career and his personal life, all playing out in an episodic manner much like "The Reem" or Spong's "King of the Ring."

This is just the trailer, but it has us pretty pumped up, that's for sure. 

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LEGEND IV Rumored for Paris in December Featuring 70kg Tournament

  • Published in Kickboxing

After quite a bit of radio silence after LEGEND 3: Pour Homme it looks like we will see another LEGEND event before the year's end. The biggest hint was the huge birthday party thrown for LEGEND promoter Ruslan Suleymanov recently that faetured lots of big names from the worlds of MMA and kickboxing with the LEGEND name and brand on everything from big screens to sunglasses. It was clear that LEGEND was going to be gearing up for another event soon and that Ruslan wasn't done living the dream of promoting big events.

According to reports the next LEGEND event will be LEGEND IV and take place in Paris, France in December of this year. The event is scheduled to feature a 70kg tournament and while no names were mentioned, it was said that some of the names will "surprise you." If you were to take a roll call from his birthday party, the big name 70kg kickboxers there were Andy Souwer, Giorgio Petrosyan, Gago Drago, Murat Direkci, Mike Zambidis, Dzhabar Askerov and a few others. We aren't saying that they are gonna be in the tournament, but it would seem likely that the fighters that LEGEND was wining and dining would be the fighters involved in their upcoming tournament.

The big name in there is, of course, Giorgio Petrosyan. Petrosyan was last seen at GLORY 12 New York where his crazy win streak was beaten by Andy Ristie in the third round. That was Petrosyan's sixth performance under the GLORY banner and no one has heard much from him ever since. It's entirely possible that he could fight for LEGEND, either with the permission of GLORY, or if his contract with GLORY has ended.

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Video: Hesdy Gerges vs. Benjamin Adegbuyi from Glory 18

  • Published in Video

Glory has finally released probably the most anticipated superfight from Glory 18 in Oklahoma. We have the talented, young, rising star in Benjamin Adegbuyi against the experienced veteran that is Hesdy Gerges. 

First of all, the pace in this fight for two huge men was incredible. Watching this fight I remember thinking "This is only round 1!?!" Both men were throwing from bell to bell all 3 rounds in what ended as a very close fight. The fight really could have gone either way but I think what may have swayed the judges was the more flashy stuff from Benny. Glory does state during their rules meeting that flashy kicks like back kicks, high kicks, and flying knees will score higher with the judges. Hesdy was quite unhappy with the decision to say the least.

Anyway judge it for yourself tell us what you think.

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Glory 18: Kiria Vs Van Roosmalen and Saulo Cavalari Hype Videos

  • Published in Glory

We are 3 weeks away from Glory 18, which means its time for the hype videos to begin. First of all we have the title fight between Robin van Roosmalen and Davit Kiria. Glory has given us their version of a small 24/7 type video for these 2 fighters. I can't help but feel that Roosmalen is a big favourite in this fight considering he has already beaten Kiria twice, both times by unanimous decision. Then again I think most people including myself underestimated the Georgian fighter against Ristie and we all saw how that went. The difference is Ristie is known to get tired in fights, he used to even have a hard time with 3 round fights, but hes adapted to those, where as Roosmalen has never really had a problem with his cardio, so the whole weather the storm game plan won't work this time for Kiria. I'd say Kiria has to capitalize on Roosmalen standing flat footed in front of him, he will have to move in and out and not get sucked into standing and trading combos or else hes likely to have a bad night.

Secondly we have a pre fight interview with Brazilian Saulo "Cassius Clay" Cavalari. He has probably the hardest first fight of the tournament against the favourite Danyo Ilunga. If he can get past Ilunga in the first fight he has a good chance to win the whole thing, Unless Mwekassa's left uppercut puts a dent in those plans.

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Glory 17: CroCop Vs Jarrell Miller Pre Fight Interviews

  • Published in Glory

On June 21st at Glory 17 Live on Spike TV Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller will get his chance to avenge his loss against Mirko CroCop. Their first fight was in CroCop's hometown of Zagreb, Croatia, March of 2013 and lets say he had a bit of a hometown advantage.

Jarrell Miller has not had any kickboxing fights since his loss to Crocop but has been knocking out a steady string of opponents in his boxing career, so he is by no means rusty and wants revenge. Miller without a doubt will be looking for the knockout this time because he does not want to go to the judges and risk what happened last time. He has very heavy hands, pretty slick boxing defense, and also blocks kicks well for a boxer.

During CroCop's interview he calls Miller a Big mouth, which i'm sure most people would agree with, but its nice to hear CroCop talk a bit of smack as well, it shows he has some fire towards this fight. CroCop will not be able to clinch and smother as much as he did during the first fight with the Glory rules being a lot more strict when it comes to clinching. It would be nice to see CroCop not only go for the high kick but also try and break down the legs of miller as most boxers are very susceptible to leg kicks. 

Miller wants to knock out Crocop, avenge his loss, and then return to his boxing career. That won't be an easy task considering he has a kickboxing veteran known for his  powerful kicks with a plan to beat "Big Baby" for the second time. It only takes one punch or kick from either of these men to end anyone's night early.

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Last Man Standing Hype Videos for Joe Valtellini and Marc De Bonte

  • Published in Glory

On June 21st the GLORY Welterweight Championship will be on the line as Canada's Joe Valtellini will challenge the Champion, Marc de Bonte for the title. De Bonte recently won the title at GLORY 16 over friend and former training partner Karapet Karapetyan in a technical battle that left many fans wondering if de Bonte can hang with the likes of Valtellini and Holzken. This is definitely his chance to prove that he is a worthy champion (note: we already know that he is, or should know). 

Check out this interview package that GLORY put together for Joe Valtellini on his road to the GLORY Welterweight Championship, as well as Marc de Bonte talking about his huge win over Karapetyan.

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Cro Cop vs. Bonjasky Gave Mirko's Mom Heart Palpatations

  • Published in Glory

Cro Cop

Apparently some fans were critical of Mirko Cro Cop from GLORY 14, not for his performance, not for his style having changed so drastically in the past few years and the lack of kicks or clean punches -- but because he didn't hang around to do interviews after the event. After the fight with Remy Bonjasky was over Mirko Cro Cop made his way backstage and then promptly left the arena, which led to speculation that he was possibly a bad sport over the controversial decision.

According to Cro Cop, that couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, Cro Cop claims that he received a phone call that his mother was sick in the hospital. She suffered from heart palpitations and out of fear of a possible heart attack she was rushed to the hospital. Of course Mirko was going to make sure that his mother was okay and be by her side as opposed to answer silly questions about fighting. Cro Cop implied that while fighting is important, his family takes precedence over the fight industry, especially dealing with the press. This comes after the press found Cro Cop difficult to deal with leading up to the fight, which brings everything full circle. [source]

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Glory 17: Last Man Standing Open Workouts and Press Conference Highlights

  • Published in Glory

With only one more sleep remaining until the biggest kickboxing card since the K-1 WGP days, I find myself looking for every hype video I can possibly find to kill time until Glory 17.

This video shows us some short clips of some of the fighters doing an open workout and the best parts of the press conference. Seeing the different ways and contrast between the way fighters train is always interesting to watch (especially for me considering sometimes i can use some of their tricks). For example watching Simon Marcus, a more Thai style fighter hit pads is very different from watching Jarrell Miller, more of a boxer, or even Rico Verhoeven who is a Dutch kickboxer. Each fighter's skills are looking world class and they are looking in top condition.

Now on to the press conference, I'd just like to say how happy I am to finally see Daniel Ghita come out of his shell and and say more than two words. Its great to see how bitter he is about his last fight with Rico and we will see tomorrow how hard he has trained to show us that he believes he is the real champion. Its also nice to see no matter how confident they are everyone is still respectful and realizes how dangerous every other fighter is.

As if I wasn't excited enough, this video really pumped me up. I have really missed 8 man kickboxing tournaments and I feel that most of the new American kickboxing fans are going to watch this and realize what a real fight card is.

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