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Cris Cyborg: Negative Narrative, Uplifting Performance

  • Published in News

LF

 

There’s something awfully self-serving about wanting a fighter to lose. It reflects a deeper emotional connection to the fight that elevates it from a mere contest of skill and athleticism to a form of theater. The fighters are suddenly characters in a play with the fight and its outcome having a profound outcome on their narrative trajectories, and as viewers, we are emotionally engaged in that. Savvy promoters who appreciate this may find clever ways to engage our feelings, using various tools and devices to frame the story and its characters in a way that’s more gripping and engaging, where Fighter A becomes that person from Nowheresville who is looking for their big break while Fighter B is that person who’s been talking big and acting like they own the sport. Some readers might go further and call these characters Faces and Heels. That’s a line, however, that some fans don’t like to cross: scripted drama, they say, yet deliberate or not, the narrative process is exactly the same.

What then do we make of Cris Cyborg? The drama is well known and the key words require no elaboration: Steroids. Cheating. Ronda Rousey. Tito Ortiz. Dana White. Why do some fans (at least in the MMA world) choose to hate her? Because of her appearance combined with her accomplishments? Because they think all of her success is due to taking steroids despite only being busted once? Because she calls out Ronda Rousey? Does that make Rousey (ironically) the Face in all of this? Who’s writing the script now?

As powerful and *natural* as narrative is, sometimes it may blind us from appreciating something that’s far more important in this instance: that last night, Cris Cyborg and Jorina Baars put on one of the best fights of the year and possibly one of the all time best fights in women’s kickboxing. It was a battle that saw both fighters dig deep physically and technically, putting on a performance that was worthy of a stage far grander than the Hard Rock in Las Vegas. It was a spectacle that should rightly serve as a career highlight for both fighters, who each landed incredibly hard shots and rallied back from dangerous positions. This is a fight that we should be grateful for seeing with both fighters deserving our admiration and praise.

One of the best things about the K-1 promotional model was its tendency to highlight positive storylines and gloss over negative press. This could be frustrating at times when honesty was demanded, especially with regard to issues like Badr Hari’s behavior and fighter pay. Yet, the ability to sell these storylines allowed us to focus on the fights, not the mud and dirt of the fight business (which believe me, goes to far murkier depths than you or I will ever get to hear about). After all, does having a front row seat to situations that should play out behind closed doors really accomplish anything? Why are the petty squabbles between Dana White and Tito Ortiz every fan’s business? As fans, let’s focus on enjoying the fights and let the so-called “businesspeople” (such as they are) worry about the rest. Let’s enjoy the moment. If you’re new to kickboxing and watch MMA predominantly, I can say that last night, you got treated to a certain caliber of a fight (for free) and an experience that is rare, so rather than dwelling on what this means for Cyborg and the UFC, let’s take a moment to celebrate the incredible toughness of Cris Cyborg and the awesome talent of Jorina Baars.

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Pat Barry Added to Legacy Kickboxing Card in January

  • Published in Kickboxing

Former UFC fighter and current GLORY fighter Pat Barry was announced as an addition to January's Legacy Kickboxing event promoted by Legacy Fighting. The fight goes down on January 16th in Houston, Texas and Pat Barry will be fighting Demoreo Dennis. Barry is still under contract with GLORY but GLORY has given both Pat and Legacy the go-ahead for the fight. 

The fight will air on AXS TV and will be using a variation of the K-1/GLORY rule set, which means no elbows and limited clinch work. This is already adding to a card including Michael Corley and Cosmo Alexandre, which is great. It's good to see more kickboxing hitting the airwaves soon and bringing the heat. 

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Can Pat Barry Move the Needle For GLORY?

  • Published in News

GLORY

This weekend at GLORY 16 we'll see the GLORY Kickboxing debut of Pat Barry. Pat Barry is perhaps best known from his run in the UFC, where he was involved in some truly memorable fights, some of the most memorable in UFC history. Of course, part of the problem with being a UFC fighter is that the UFC promotes the brand first, Dana White second, their shows third and somewhere along the way the fighters. This creates an atmosphere devoid of individual stars.

Pat Barry's jump to GLORY is a huge win for GLORY, seeing as though Pat Barry is a marketable personality and a talented striker. The question is, will he give them an immediate injection of credibility? The data from Google Trends tends to say "no."

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GLORY 15 Istanbul Weigh-in Restuls

  • Published in Glory

GLORY 15

GLORY 15 Istanbul takes place tomorrow, April 12th, from Istanbul, Turkey. The event will feature a one-night, four-man tournament to crown a GLORY Light Heavyweight Champion. Fans across the world are eagerly awaiting the Light Heavyweight tournament, featuring Gokhan Saki, Nathan Corbett, Saulo Cavalari and Tyrone Spong. The card also features a Light Heavyweight bout of note between Danyo Ilunga and Andrei Stoica, as well as Robin van Roosmalen vs. Marat Grigorian.

 

  • GLORY 15 ISTANBUL
  • Robin van Roosmalen (69.5 kg / 153.22 lb) vs. Marat Grigorian (69.8 kg / 155.21 lb)
  • Danyo Ilunga (94.95 kg / 209.33 lb) vs. Andrei Stoica (93.7 kg / 206.57 lb)
  • Tyrone Spong (94.7 kg / 208.78 lb) vs. Saulo Cavalari (94.6 kg / 208.56 lb)
  • Gökhan Saki (94.85 kg / 209.11 lb) vs. Nathan Corbett (94.2 kg / 207.68 lb)
  • GLORY SUPERFIGHT SERIES
  • Jhonata Diniz (111.1 kg / 244.93 lb) vs. Hesdy Gerges (108 kg / 238.10 lb)
  • Randy Blake (95.1 kg / 209.66 lb) vs. Mourad Bouzidi (95.1 kg / 209.66 lb)
  • Filip Verlinden (84.7 kg / 186.73 lb) vs. Israel Adesanya (84.6 kg / 186.51 lb)
  • Atakan Arslan (76.8 kg / 169.32 lb) vs. Jonatan Oliveira (76.65 kg / 168.98 lb)
  • Niclas Larsen (69.5 kg / 153.22 lb) vs. Steve Moxon (69.9 kg / 154.10 lb)
  • Yodkhunpon Sitmonchai* (66.05 kg / 145.62 lb) vs. Raz Sarkisjan (64.25 kg / 141.65 lb)
  • *Yodkhunpon Sitmonchai was re-weighed and came in under the 65 kg limit

 

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FundAFighter Launches Campaign For Muay Thai Trainer Peter Sisomphou

  • Published in Muay Thai

Legendary Muay Thai trainer Peter Sisomphou has worked with countless top names in the world of martial arts over the years, including Firas Zahabi, David Loiseau, Ivan Menjivar and more. He's been a name within the world of martial arts for a very long time now and recently had to undergo a quadruple bypass surgery, which has a very long road to recovery. For a guy like Sisomphou, being in the gym and training fighters is how he makes his living and right now he is unable to do that.

FundAFighter has launched a campaign to raise money for Sisomphou while he is recovering to help to pay for his bills while he waits to get back into the gym and working again. Remember, the world of martial arts is not one that includes 401ks, sick pay and other luxuries found in desk jobs. So head over to FundAFighter to read more about Masta Peter Sisomphou and how you can help. 

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Photo of the Day: Cro Cop Wants You to Cuddle a Puppy

  • Published in Glory

Cro Cop

At GLORY 14 in Zagreb Mirko Cro Cop is primed to square off against Remy Bonjasky, but before then, he wants to cuddle with puppies. Yes, you read that correctly. Mirko Cro Cop took part in a campaign in Croatia to raise awareness of animal abuse by posing for photos with a puppy. I concur, dogs are amazing and anyone who harms one is a terrible person, so we stand with Cro Cop because dogs and puppies are the best.

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Former K-1 Champion Mark Hunt Gets a Crack at UFC Gold

  • Published in Kickboxing

On November 15th at UFC 180 in Mexico the unthinkable will happen; 40 year old Mark Hunt will have a shot to become UFC [Interim] Heavyweight Champion. The injury-prone Champion, Cain Velasquez, has been forced to pull out of his scheduled title defense against Fabricio Werdum and who else would step forward on a few weeks notice for the shot of his life? Of course Mark Hunt would jump at the chance to be called UFC Heavyweight Champion.

Mark Hunt got his spot with the UFC via a technicality thanks to his contract with PRIDE FC, the UFC opting to honor said contract and give Hunt a shot at the UFC. At the time there were no real hopes to Hunt impressing anyone. Hunt was 36 and he stepped into the ring with Sean McCorkle coming off of a five fight losing streak. McCorkle would make six. Hunt swore that he'd do better and Dana White gave him another shot. What followed was a crazy four-fight winning streak that was finally derailed by former UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior Dos Santos. Many would claim that JDS won via knockout, but it always just seemed that Hunt was just exhausted and the kick just put him onto the mat, where he was just too wiped out to stand up.

His next fight was against perennial title contender and one of the men who beat the unbeatable Fedor Emelianenko in Bigfoot Silva. It was a bloodbath of a fight, one of the most beautiful things that a fan could witness, ending in a rare majority draw after five rounds of action. Afterwards Bigfoot Silva tested positive for banned substances, which didn't come as much of a surprise. Hunt's next fight was in Japan against Roy Nelson. Nelson had always been knocking at the door of being a top guy in the division, but was always held back by his stubbornness. Mark Hunt laid him out in just two rounds.

Now Mark Hunt is the man to fill in and is given the opportunity of a lifetime. Fabricio Werdum will no doubt be in better shape, is younger and more well-rounded, but Mark Hunt is Mark Hunt. 

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Andre Dida to Return to Fighting This Summer

  • Published in Kickboxing

Dida

Andre Dida is one of those guys that most of us know from our time staying up super late to watch Japanese events from here in the United States and rightfully so. Dida cut his teeth in Brazil before being called up by K-1 for their HERO*s organization, where he took place in their first Lightweight GP. Dida, who was a relative unknown to Japanese fans at the time, made it all the way to the Finals. From there he went on to appear in DREAM as well as K-1 MAX.

His K-1 MAX stint was weird, to say the least, as K-1 threw him to the wolves early on, so to speak. His first fight was a crazy KO, so then he was moved up in competition. When I say moved up, I mean that his second K-1 fight was against Buakaw Banchamek (then Por. Pramuk). What was crazy was that he nailed Buakaw with some great shots, Buakaw was a king at the time. Buakaw went on to win via decision in an extra round, but Dida earned some serious respect there. He had two more fights in K-1 after that, both of which were still steep climbs up the talent ranks, against Yuichiro Nagashima and Hinata Watanabe.

Dida announced his return today, claiming that he not only wanted to come back to MMA, but to Kickboxing. I'm not sure that he'd be able to just jump right into the deep waters at 70kg right away, but if GLORY or K-1 were to pick him up they'd be able to build him up until he's comfortable and see where he stands, at least. Dida is planning this comeback with Champions Sports Management based out of Stoney Creek, Ontario, a brand of House of Champions gym, headed by Alin Halmagean and Nenad Kuruc.

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Watch Combate Americas Episode Two Featuring Joe Valtellini

  • Published in Glory

Combate Americas is a reality TV show based around MMA, but with a Latino twist to it. It makes sense, since nobody within the MMA world has really tapped that market just yet, but it is still a risk for the young Combate Americas. Episode two features GLORY Welterweight Joe Valtellini as a trainer, so watch as they compete on the show, including weird American Gladiators jousting stuff, and get a glimpse of Valtellini in action.

Joe is a rad dude, so I suggest watching to support him.

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Lion Fight 16 to Take Part in UFC International Fight Week

  • Published in Muay Thai

Kevin Ross

UFC's International Fight Week is set for the first week in July, culminating with two, back-to-back events on the weekend. The whole week promises to be full of UFC-related events, but what is interesting is that today Lion Fight announced that Lion Fight 16 would take place on July 4th in Las Vegas as an official part of UFC's International Fight Week. The event will happen at the Pearl at the Palms and have the UFC's official endorsement, meaning that it will be a part of UFC's International Fight Week in a big way.

The event is set to be headlined by Kevin Ross vs. Michael Thompson for Lion Fight's Super Lightweight Championship. Tiffany Van Soest will be the co-main event of the evening with her opponent to be announced in the near future, it will also see Rungravee Sasiprasa make his debut. The event will be broadcast on AXS TV, per usual.

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