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Dave Walsh

Dave Walsh

Dave Walsh has been covering MMA and Kickboxing since 2007 before changing his focus solely to Kickboxing in 2009, launching what was the only English-language site dedicated to giving Kickboxing similar coverage to what MMA receives. He was the co-founder of HeadKickLegend and now LiverKick. He resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he works as a writer of all trades.

His first novel, the Godslayer, is available now

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GLORY's Dustin Jacoby Victorious in MMA Return

Dustin Jacoby made a big splash on the kickboxing world when he entered into GLORY after little notice. He entered a Road 2 GLORY tournament without much notice and was able to steamroll it, earning himself a spot on the main GLORY roster. Since then he's gone 1-5, but that has been against some of the best fighters in the world. He is still really learning to love kickboxing and there is definitely a possible future for him if they maybe scale down his competition to something more of his level.

This past weekend he fought for Titan Fighting Championship in his return to MMA where he made short work of Lucas Lopes with his striking. If you were to ask me if his striking has improved I'd probably give a big 'yes.' Jacoby's next fight is September 5th against King Mo Lawal in Bellator.

GIF via ZombieProphet.

Shin on Shin Series: Episode 11

Our bud Steven Wright has always made it clear how much he loves the sport of kickboxing. He makes his money by helping out some of the best MMA fighters in the world to hone their standup, but his passion has always been kickboxing. For about as long as I've known Steven he has been talking about his documentary. Steven is a lot like me in the regards of he always has a lot going on, but he always stuck to his guns; he was going to release his epic kickboxing documentary at some point. 

So we waited and waited and I at times wondered if he had forgotten about it. He hasn't, not at all. Steven has been gracious enough to release episodes 1 - 10 already, now here is episode 11. This is the final episode of this tremendous series, so watch it!

If you missed the previous episodes; 1 - 4, 5 - 78 - 10 

Episode 11: Moments, The man who saved kickboxing, and the future of the sport

Orsat Zovko Severs Ties with Mirko Cro Cop

Orsat/Cro Cop via K-1 and Fight Channel

Earlier today Orsat Zovko, the longtime manager of Mirko Cro Cop, issued a statement to the press in regards to his relationship with Filipovic. It appears that after Zovko spent years helping to revive Mirko's career that both sides will not be working together anymore. It's fair to note that Zovko is the promoter of the Final Fight promotion in Croatia and was behind both the Final Fight: Cro Cop event where he fought Ray Sefo and the K-1 World Grand Prix Finals in Croatia where Cro Cop won. Orsat was also GLORY's co-promoter when they went to Zagreb earlier this year.

It's fair to say that Zovko has been behind a lot of Cro Cop's more publicized fights in the past few years and it'll be interesting to see where Cro Cop goes from here. The entire press release is below.

Termination of business cooperation with Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipović

Dear media representatives, partners, combat sports fans and friends,

I hereby would like to inform you that as of August 25 I am no longer manager of Mirko “Cro Cop“ Filipović. The reason behind the termination of a very successful cooperation lies in the fact that I could not accept Mirko Filipović's new business proposal. Without going into more details, I would like to point out that our cooperation was immensely successful and fruitful.

After the cancellation of the contract with the UFC, Mirko's career started to move upwards again when he returned to kickboxing and after the successful Cro Cop Final Fight event in Zagreb, Croatia, which Fight Channel organized exclusively for Mirko. His return to kickboxing proved to be a good decision since Mirko won K-1 WGP title last year also in Zagreb, Croatia, which is, together with his Pride GP belt, the biggest success of his career. Then he signed with Glory, world's best kickboxing promotion at the moment, and he occasionally fought in free fight matches which culminated with his victory and winning the IGF belt last weekend.

It was a great pleasure to manage the career of one of the greatest fighters of all times and to cooperate with all the members of Cro Cop's team. I would like to thank all the media representatives and all the combat sports fans for cooperation and support. I hope we will successfully cooperate again on some projects in the future.

Sincerely,

Orsat Zovko

Peter Aerts Does the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

There have been a literal ton of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos out in the wild. From just normal, everyday people to A-list celebrities. Most of these don't concern us, though, because, well, we cover kickboxing. Even then, lots of fighters have been participating in the ALS Ice Bucket challenge. We probably won't post that many of them because once you've seen one person pour ice on their heads and imply that they are cold you've probably seem them all. 

This is Peter Aerts, though. Peter Aerts will always hold a special place in our hearts for being Mr. K-1. So let's watch Peter Aerts participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Kickboxing and the Curious Case of Eternal Fatalism

We are, as they say, at a bit of an impasse in the sport of kickboxing right now. It’s difficult to avoid, difficult to make eye contact with and not look away. We’ve been at this place before, though, which is why it feels so awful this time around. Back in 2010 it looked like the sport of kickboxing was heading for imminent doom and destruction. FEG was a sinking ship and they were taking on water -- fast -- faster than they ever wanted to publicly admit. 

Things were looking bleak for the sport of kickboxing at that time, but there was still hope. There were still people who were passionate about the sport, who wanted to do everything that they could for it. You had Simon Rutz and Bas Boon at each other’s throats, but both men were passionate and willing to do what it took to keep the sport afloat. You had Romanian promoter Eduard Irimia ready to expand beyond Romania. You had men with vision. Followed by the men with money to go with that passion.

As I stated before, we are at an impasse at the moment. The Japanese fight market has shrunk, shrunk to the point of almost being dead, but not quite. It doesn’t exist like it did what feels like a lifetime ago. What exists now is a facsimile of the grandeur that we knew before. Simulacra, a copy of a copy of a copy with adjustments made for degradation. Europe and America were always the wild west for kickboxing; that was clearly where the money was, but would it be able to reach the great heights that were achieved in Japan and Asia? 

Enter GLORY. GLORY took a gamble, filtering millions of dollars into the sport that was on its knees after losing its king. Without a doubt the K-1 name held the prestige, it had done things that no one thought possible with the fringe sport of kickboxing. The rise of K-1 meant making the rest of the sport of kickboxing look silly in the process. The end result is that kickboxing rules aren’t kickboxing rules anymore, they are K-1 Rules. The name K-1 is intrinsically linked with the sport of kickboxing even to this day, for good or for bad. 

So GLORY was set to fill the hole that was left by FEG’s bankruptcy with big promises, fireworks and a roster of capable production crew and the best fighters in the world. Sights were set on America, on taking on the leviathan market where the UFC rose from obscurity into a sport appearing regularly on Fox programming and had weaseled its way into becoming a household name. This was kickboxing’s white whale and, for a while, things were looking good.

Spike TV was hungry for the next big combat sport after they lost the UFC to Fox Sports, scooping up Bellator and then K-1. K-1 withdrew their name from the hat to restructure, leaving Spike TV ready to accept GLORY into the fold. Kickboxing had finally made it, it was on cable television in the United States. The first show happened and the ratings were in. They weren’t great, but they weren’t bad, either. There was promise. 

Since then there have been the good times and the bad times, but what became increasingly clear was that there was no competition for GLORY anywhere out there. GLORY was doing things right, it was paying the fighters what they deserved to be paid, treating them with respect and doing everything right. Growing pains are real, though, especially when the anticipated growth doesn’t live up to the reality. Kickboxing was, for all intents and purposes, a new sport to many fans out there. It was a part of the whole that is Mixed Martial Arts, thus, it was fringe. There has been growth, but the growth is slow, it is costly and it is frustrating. 

GLORY’s last event was GLORY 17/Last Man Standing on June 21st, which, as of the time that I write this, was two months ago. Since then there have been rumors, whispers and public decrees from fans; GLORY is dead. If you read forums or comment sections on websites you’ll hear all about it, you’ll hear that so-and-so’s trainer said that the company is bankrupt, you’ll hear that shows have been canceled, that members of the board are ready to depart, that payments have been filtering in late. For the kickboxing faithful these are all triggers, things that will bring back that long-forgotten PTSD that came with the dissolution of FEG’s K-1 back in 2010 and 2011.

Then there are those that like to watch the world burn, who are calling for the end. These are the fatalists. We’ve had private assurances from many within GLORY that right now is simply a time of restructuring, of regrouping, of changing strategies. Yesterday’s announcement of a new CEO was the first step. But, let’s give in to hysteria, to fatalism. Let’s say that GLORY has a few shows left and then, just as quickly as they emerged, they disappear into the ether of kickboxing history.

Who is there to pick up the pieces this time? Where are the Bas Boons looking to find anyone, to compromise his own visions and brands, to make things work? Where are the Simon Rutz’s running the #2 promotion and ready to take on the financial burden of being the de facto #1? Where are the Pierre Andurands, Ivan Farnetis, Scott Rudmanns and others who are willing to take a risk with their own personal money to invest in the sport? Where are your GLORY replacements where these now out-of-the-job fighters have to find work with?

The market right now is a mess. In a way, you can blame GLORY for the mess. GLORY was looking to be the alpha and omega in kickboxing, which meant exclusive contracts, which meant paying what others couldn’t pay, treating fighters unlike they were used to be treated. So you’ll tell me LEGEND Fight Show, the same promotion that put on three events thus far, only one in 2014 with nothing scheduled yet. So you’ll tell me GFC, the guys that are paying Badr Hari a mint to compete for them, because you were able to watch that last show from your couch, right? Because outside of Badr Hari they are stacking cards with expensive talent, right?

So you’ll say Enfusion, K-1 or SuperKombat. I’ll say that all three are great promotions in their own right, each one growing in their own way, with their own unique business plans and markets. How many of them see a broad market as their audience right now? K-1 is focused on Asia, Enfusion is focused on the UK and SuperKombat is focused on Romania. You might say that if GLORY simply disappears like Criss Angel in a stunt that they’ll be able to bolster their rosters with big names, but where does that money come from? The end of It’s Showtime came from overreaching and hiring top talents. 

Right now nobody has what FEG’s K-1 had in a television partner that was willing to sink millions of their own money into each event and, realistically, we might never see that again. GLORY doesn’t even have that right now. Instead, GLORY has a good deal with Spike TV, but one that bears little fruit for either side right now and might take years to build up properly, to build an audience and really start making money. 

The rise of GLORY was both beneficial and detrimental to the sport of kickboxing. If GLORY ceases to be, then the sport of kickboxing is set back even further than when FEG’s K-1 ceased to be. If you consider yourself a fan of kickboxing then at this moment the sport will require something of you. The sport will require your faith. If GLORY says that they aren’t done yet, then, well, they aren’t done yet. In the meantime we can only hope that Enfusion, K-1, SuperKombat and others continue to grow and find themselves in better positions to provide stability for both fans and fighters alike.

For now, let's save our eulogies and instead focus on the sport that we all love. 

GLORY Suspends Jamal Ben Saddik

On June 29th in Azerbaijan GLORY fighters Jamal Ben Saddik and Hesdy Gerges clashed in a non-GLORY ring where the outcome saw a frustrated Jamal Ben Saddik take Gerges to the mat and begin viciously attacking him as if it were in MMA rules. Of course, it wasn't, it was kickboxing rules and a "GLORY-ranked" fight. Since the incident occurred we've been hearing that Jamal Ben Saddik would be released by the organization, but there was radio silence on the issue until today.

Today GLORY released a statement announcing that Jamal Ben Saddik has been handed down a six month suspension, during which time his GLORY contract is set to expire and GLORY has opted not to renew that contract. That means that Ben Saddik is effectively out of the organization and out of action for the next few months. 

“GLORY will on occasion give permission to fighters to take part in third-party events. But when they do so, they are still bound by GLORY rules and regulations, this is part of the agreement,” said Cor Hemmers, Head of Talent Operations.

“In their contracts with GLORY, fighters agree to abide by the company’s rules and regulations. Failure to do so is a breach of their agreement with the company and leaves the fighter open to disciplinary action.

“Mr. Ben Saddik breached his agreement with GLORY and also conducted himself in a manner liable to bring the sport into disrepute. For this reason a multi-department disciplinary panel was convened, leading to today’s action against Mr. Ben Saddik.” [source]

Last Man Standing Video: Melvin Manhoef vs. Filip Verlinden

Melvin Manhoef is back in the news as Bellator is hyping up his return to American soil in MMA against Doug Marshall at an upcoming Bellator event, so what better time than to get a Melvin Manhoef video out into the wild? This is Melvin Manhoef vs. Filip Verlinden from GLORY's Last Man Standing tournament at the PPV of the same name. It's Wednesday, so sit back and enjoy some kickboxing already.

GLORY Appoints New CEO, Next Show in October

Things have been quiet on the GLORY front, which to many has been a bad sign, but we've been hearing reports from within the company about "big things" happening, including some shifts. The first of those shifts was announced today when GLORY unveiled that Jon J. Franklin has been appointed as the new CEO for the organization, replacing Andrew Whitaker. Whitaker will remain with the organization in an advisory role, working mostly with the television aspect of the brand.

Jon J. Franklin, based out of Denver, has been working with GLORY for a while now with his company, The Sports Entertainment Company. Franklin has also served in senior roles for IMG-Media, was President of Golden Gloves Boxing and worked with AP-X. His extensive history within the realm of boxing can only help GLORY further at this point. 

Some might be concerned over the change at this point, especially after a period of relative silence, but this is actually a good thing. This shows that GLORY is thinking to the future and that they are looking to revise their direction for the future. As someone who worked previously within the world of corporate PR and IR, CEO changes are a very common occurrence in many organizations, with the idea being to keep fresh ideas and direction for organizations. 

Also, according to an interview given to MMAMania, Franklin stated that they would be returning in October, which aligns with a statement we received from within GLORY about a month ago.

Watch Joe Schilling do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has been all over social media for the past few weeks. The idea is to dump a bucket of ice water over your head, then call out three friends to do it themselves, all in the name of raising awareness and donating money for research into Lou Gehrig's Disease/ALS. We've seen it catch fire in the MMA world of late, now Joe Schilling of GLORY fame is taking the challenge and damn does he have a list of names that he calls out afterwards.

It's also awesome because his two sons, whom he'll usually lovingly refer to on Instagram as "Thing #1" and "Thing #2," take the challenge as well. His youngest son, Jax, is pretty endearing to watch try to run away from it, while Lil Joe takes it like a champ.

Shin on Shin Series: Episodes 8 - 10

Our bud Steven Wright has always made it clear how much he loves the sport of kickboxing. He makes his money by helping out some of the best MMA fighters in the world to hone their standup, but his passion has always been kickboxing. For about as long as I've known Steven he has been talking about his documentary. Steven is a lot like me in the regards of he always has a lot going on, but he always stuck to his guns; he was going to release his epic kickboxing documentary at some point. 

So we waited and waited and I at times wondered if he had forgotten about it. He hasn't, not at all. We've seen episodes 1 - 7 already, so here is 8, 9 and 10.

Episode 8: Where They Hate the Heroes (Holland)

Episode 9: The Ambassador Remy Bonjasky, Stars of the Future

Episode 10: The Pretty Killer, The King of the Ring

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