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Where Does Glory Go From Here?

I made a pretty big deal about PPV buyrates and their impact on the future direction of Glory, but in fact, I didn’t have lofty expectations as to how the Last Man Standing tournament would perform. Modest results were anticipated, although putting a number on that and interpreting its significance is hard to do. This event was a picture-perfect example of a combat sports PPV done right, but some might be wondering: in light of the projected numbers, where does Glory stand? I would argue that Glory stands on perfectly solid ground and in arguably a position better suited to take on the American combat sports market.

We’ve learned a number of important things from following the TV ratings and watching the fight cards themselves: 1) Glory is a consistent performer on SpikeTV, generating ratings on par with or slightly below Bellator and better than WSOF. 2) Glory has found a consistent formula for their 2-hour time slot, staging 4-man contender tournaments, co-main title fights, and a main event SuperFight--that’s a lot of quality kickboxing in one night. 3) Glory has developed a stable of marketable talent that could headline future events. Joe Schilling and Joseph Valtellini are superstars tailor made for SpikeTV with the skills to sell a fight and the exciting styles to deliver on fight night.

For the two and a half years that Glory has spent trying to establish an identity and a consistent product to deliver to American audiences, it seems like the end result has finally been achieved, and it is 100% solid. Each card features a couple of well-known headliners and a contender tournament with prospects who are still making their name. This keeps costs low by not breaking bank on a mega card full of 6-figure talent, and it allows Glory to book and sell-out smaller venues that it can continually revisit. This model has been successfully followed by Strikeforce, It’s Showtime, and now Lion Fight.

Does this mean that Glory won’t stage big PPV shows anymore? No, but it does mean that Glory will need to be strategic and creative in how it plans future events. The SpikeTV formula will work well in the United States when Glory must necessarily operate in 2,000 to 3,000 person venues, but if places like Istanbul can really put more than 10,000 butts in seats, then there are greater possibilities. Co-promotion with Bellator would also be a major boon to Glory. While Glory may not have the muscle right now to be a PPV success, it could easily enhance the marketability of a Bellator PPV. Bellator/Glory Dynamite 2014 on PPV, anyone? Bellator and Glory could not be in a better position to attempt something like this, especially with Scott Coker in the driver’s seat clearing the way to stable co-promotion. Having multiple smaller shows with only a couple of big shows per year is the right step to sustainability long-term.

Finally, let’s remind ourselves of where Glory truly stands. In terms of its success, Glory is nowhere close to being the UFC, and neither is it close to being Bellator. It is a big, international organization that does slightly better than or about the same as a regional fight promotion. It has shouldered substantial loss to get to where it is now. However, it is unequivocally gaining momentum. The combat sports community is interested in Glory and wants to see more, and every event is gaining more traction in the hearts of fight fans. The ratings, while not a skyrocketing success, are stable. The stage is set for Glory to have its breakthrough moment with the right talent, the right broadcast deals, and the right formula in place. Glory needs to keep putting itself on TV with more small shows while waiting for the right moment to bring out the big guns. It may not happen this year, but that moment will come eventually. Until then, it’s up to us to keep tuning in, to keep supporting the sport, and to keep spreading the word. Kickboxing is alive, and it is finally here.

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Rise 100 - Blade 0 - Fight Card

Rise 100 - Blade 0 - event will be taking place July 12 at the Ota City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan. There are some big names on the card like Andy Souwer, Hinata, Yasuhiro Kido, and Yuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima. Souwer Vs Kido should be an exciting rematch, I'm curious to see how Andy will adapt to Kido's awkward style this time (first fight was K-1 Final 16, 2013). The Weigh in's have already taken place and some pictures have been put on facebook here.

KICKBOXING RULES -70Kg Andy Souwer (Netherlands) vs. Kido Yasuhiro (Japan)

RISE KICKBOXING WELTER WEIGHT TITLE FIGHT - Danilo Zanolini (Brazil) vs. Nagashima Jienotsu Yuichirou (Japan)

KICKBOXING RULES -90Kg - Uehara Makoto (Japan) vs. Zelg "Benkei" Galesić (Croatia)

KICKBOXING RULES -70Kg - Hinata (Japan) vs. Samo Petje (Slovenia)

KICKBOXING RULES HEAVYWEIGHT  - Raoumaru (Japan) vs. Murat Eggan (Team Aerts)

KICKBOXING RULES -60Kg - TASUKU vs. Nobe Koudai

RISE KICKBOXING BANTAM WEIGHT TITLE FIGHT -55Kg - Hiroki Maeda vs. Yuta Murakoshi

KICKBOXING RULES -61Kg - Komiyama Kousuke (Japan) vs. Geo Fairtex (Thailand)

KICKBOXING RULES -65Kg  - Souda Yasuomi vs. Yuki

KICKBOXING RULES -70Kg - Miyakoshi Souichirou vs. Hirono Yu

KICKBOXING RULES -95Kg - Shimizu Kengo vs. Magnum Sakai

 

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LiverKick Throwback: Buakaw vs. Masato K-1 World MAX Finals 2004

The world of kickboxing has a rich history to fall back upon so we here at LiverKick figure, why not? Why not give a glimpse into some of the fights from the past that have made up this wonderful sport and tie it all in to the present. The kids on the Instagram and Twitter like to call Thursdays "Throwback Thursdays," I'm just going to say that this is a LiverKick Throwback.

Let's travel back in time now, all the way back to 2004. Yes, 2004, almost exactly ten years ago to the day, on July 7th, 2004. The K-1 World MAX Finals were the hottest ticket in town since Masato's win in the first ever tournament back in 2002 and Buakaw Banchamek (formerly Por. Pramuk) vs. Masato was the fight that everyone was clawing to see. They were the best of the best; Masato representing the Japanese bushido spirit and Buakaw the best that Thailand had to offer (regardless of your opinion, he was the best in kickboxing at the time). 

This fight was everything that K-1 was meant to embody; Japan vs. Thailand, the foreigner vs. the hometown hero and it delivered in spades. We can look back upon this fight and marvel at the display, the heart and fortitude shown and how K-1 saw Buakaw as a threat to their Japanese-centric MAX brand. This fight was the poor kid from Thailand against the groomed mega-star of Japan and it is beautiful. 

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Meltzer Gives One Last Update on GLORY Last Man Standing Numbers

This is probably the last that we'll speak of this because, well, it's time to move on, but Dave Meltzer in the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter gave a tangible number for GLORY Last Man Standing's PPV buys. That number was an estimated (read: estimated, not official) 6,000. GLORY took a gamble on American PPV and that gamble didn't seem to be at the right time or the right conditions to work out for them.

That being said, before anyone goes into a tailspin over this, think of it like this; sure, this was a big show for GLORY and they put together a bigger card and had to spend a bit more to promote the PPV. That is absolutely true, but they've put on shows like this before that were not supported by any PPV income, so while this probably means that GLORY is not going to continue forward in the PPV business, there was an additional stream of revenue for the event and this was a worthy experiment. Honestly, 10,000 buys would have been a "win" for GLORY, so falling short of that in a respectable manner is not bad, not bad at all.

American audiences are not ready for kickboxing on PPV just yet, or if they are, it just came at a bad time in the summer where we've seen even the UFC's numbers lower than previous years. For now the Spike TV numbers have been consistent, which is a good sign of GLORY attracting and maintaining an audience, now we just have to wait for their breakthrough moment to happen to start pushing things further.

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