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class="gkFeaturedItemTitle" The Humanity Behind the Gods of War

  • Category: Featured
  • Published: Wednesday, 21 May 2014 12:58
  • Written by Dave Walsh

Ben Edwards

He sat alone, inconspicuous to the fans around him and to the action inside of the ring, just off to the side of the stage. It was the first seat in the first row right behind the barrier next to the stage. Those were the seats that intentionally weren’t filled and had played host to a revolving-door of fighters and entourages throughout the night. This was the place where the winners and losers found themselves after their night had ended just to watch the show, this was where Ben Edwards found himself moments after Errol Zimmerman had put him down and out in the first round of their fight.

Edwards was sporting a pair of sweatpants and a sweatshirt, looking calm, collected, not tired at all or like he had just been involved in a fight of any kind. He may have been knocked out, but his face lacked the markings of someone who had just taken a series of punches to it. A fan or two in the crowd might have yelled out his name, but he was incognito, almost removed from the event entirely. I watched as he shook his head at the sight of Pat Barry going down for a second time, getting his brains scrambled. Edwards distinctly understood the disappointment that Barry was going through at that moment.

Sometimes it is difficult to humanize the guys that train their hearts out for our entertainment, difficult to understand their sacrifices that they make and how after the bell has rung, they are just as human as you or I are. Today I rolled out of bed facing a ten-year old car that decided not to start, just one month shy now of a wedding that is costing a lot more than we had initially projected. It’s just another cost and another inconvenience among many of late for me. Yesterday was also a day where a job that owes me seven months of pay sent me one month and asked if I’d start working again. I hate saying no, in just about any situation, but I barely have time to collect my thoughts right now, never mind work for a promise while the bills stack up.

It’s safe to say that some days I understand what Ben Edwards was thinking about as he sat there at GLORY 16 in Broomfield, Colorado quite well. I introduced myself to him as he sat there, alone, taking in the atmosphere. He looked relaxed, calm, a bit embarrassed to be found out in his seat. We stood about the same height, similar build, but one of us was just a God of War who was now adjusting to life as a mortal again. That guy was having a rough night. Ben was quick to apologize, to say that he made a mistake, that he got sloppy, but I assured him that it was no big deal and that he’s come so far in the past few years. He knows that I’ve been following his career and knows that I’m quick to talk up his technical evolution over the past few years. We talked about his technical breakdown of Catalin Morosanu from a few months prior before I left him to stew in his thoughts, knowing that having a rough night means that conversation can be laborious -- especially moments after being humanized.

Raymond Daniels, who fought on the undercard, was walking around the floor of the arena where fans were shouting out his name and stopping to take photos with him while Ben Edwards sat watching Errol Zimmerman walking to the ring again. I won’t even pretend to understand his thought process at the moment, although I could make some educated guesses. I myself found the surreal in seeing Edwards sitting there, watching Zimmerman walk to the ring, Daniels being mobbed, while Josh Jauncey and his brother Jay walked by with Andy Souwer in tow and everyone seemed completely unaware of the gravity and sheer madness of the situation.

All I could think is that Edwards was seconds away from being that guy walking to the ring. Edwards was raining down punishment on Zimmerman, but got caught, so here he is, in the stands, watching the world turn without him, a mortal like the rest of us. On that night he was far from home and all of the countries that he’d been to, all of the big shows that he’s fought on, all of the accolades that he had gained throughout his career didn’t matter, he was just another guy who had a rough night on the job. He was just another observer. There was a strong disconnect from victory and defeat.

We talk about these fighters from a distance, we weigh their perceived value and potential matchups. We place them in numbered lists and assign them value based on the last time that we saw them, but sometimes forget to humanize them and relate them to our own day-to-day struggles. Today I woke up thinking about all of the work that I had waiting for me, quickly dismissing messages on my phone asking when I’d have an article up or if I saw their last message. Sometimes I consider changing professions, pulling away from the sliver of the public eye that I have and the abuse that I open myself to daily. I know that I’m not alone in thinking that, either.

The other day Ben Edwards posted on his Facebook that he was available to dog-sit for anyone in his town that needed it. There was a hint of playfulness in it, just like changing his occupation to “Dog Sitter,” but Ben is already back at work training for an upcoming fight. Just like I continue on, Ben Edwards continues on, re-assimilating himself into the image that the world knows him in. The world keeps turning and Ben Edwards is making sure that he’s not just along for the ride, but for one night he was a human being whose hopes and dreams were as fragile and elusive as our own all are. That night I saw Ben Edwards be larger-than-life in the ring, fighting as one of the best Heavyweight in the world against one of the best Heavyweights in the world, then saw him as a vulnerable guy who was much more than the public’s image of him, the promotion’s image of him, my image of him or his own image of himself.

He’s the amalgamation of those images and he’s not them at all, just like we all are.

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class="gkFeaturedItemTitle" Glory 17: Go Big or Go Home

  • Category: Featured
  • Published: Saturday, 17 May 2014 11:04
  • Written by Aneel Deshmukh

LMS

We all would love to have nice things, particularly a successful, thriving kickboxing promotion that houses the world’s best fighters and generates widespread popular interest. So far, we’re half-way there--Glory is indisputably the world’s largest kickboxing promotion, but it has yet to achieve the popularity that will be needed to sustain its operations in the future. Ratings so far, while promising, aren’t stellar, and the reality of the television landscape these days is that even the most promising shows routinely get canceled.

What then do we make of Glory 17? Glory undoubtedly intends this event to be a breakthrough moment for the organization, staging an epic 8-man Middleweight tournament and a massive Heavyweight title fight on PPV to follow a free SpikeTV broadcast. Meanwhile, the SpikeTV portion features names like Mirko Cro Cop and Miguel Torres, fighters most likely slotted to boost viewership for the monumental event to follow, as well as some solid standouts like Andy Ristie. The show in its entirety packs all the punch of a K-1 Dynamite New Year’s Eve special and is seemingly poised to become a resounding success. But what if it fails?

No matter how many incredible events Glory has produced so far, the elephant in the room, at least for those of us with bad memories of K-1 and its final days, has always been the cost of production and talent and the actual return that Glory is generating. In short, I’m not convinced that Glory is making money. Dark mood lighting doesn’t conceal the empty seats in the 3,000 person venues that Glory has visited here in the US, and cutting large checks in these venues isn’t inspiring confidence in the balance sheet department. Of course, this should really come as no surprise to anyone; Pierre Andurand and other Glory bigwigs made clear from the start that they knew how challenging it would be to turn their business into a success and that they have been committed from the start to doing so. But for how long? We’ve already seen fight promotions wilt under the rising cost of expansion, and the organization in question (Strikeforce) had more going for it at the time.

Also, the SpikeTV deal, historic for bringing kickboxing back to American TV, has yet to expand. Glory still occupies a small 2-hour Saturday night timeslot despite producing hours of content from a single event. This is a far cry from the many hours of UFC content that formerly filled most of Spike’s daily programming lineup. Glory fighters have made virtually no promotional appearances in other SpikeTV programs, and Glory as a whole has received little promotion from Spike beyond a few commercials, late night Best of Glory program, and a Primetime special. To some extent, this is understandable as Viacom is not as invested financially in Glory as it is in Bellator, but it’s puzzling to see Viacom hold out for a product that would allow the network to better distinguish itself as a major combat sports outlet.

This brings us to Glory’s PPV debut. While the fight card is easily worth the money, many questions remain about the timing and earning potential of this event. Is it too early for Glory to make the move to PPV? It’s difficult to tell. Would it make people like me feel better if Glory had greater ratings traction going into this event? Sure. There is no denying that the kickboxing scene has been energized and revitalized, but I wonder if there’s still distance to cover before kickboxing is ready for PPV. On the other hand, it’s debatable whether there truly is an appropriate time to make the move. As the UFC has demonstrated, sometimes diving in and sticking through the rough times can be rewarding in the end. Ultimately for Glory, its ability to build an audience will matter more than the money it can generate at this stage. Some of the Glory fighters have endured years of hard times and hard knocks in order to reach the heights and achieve the success that they have; let’s hope that Glory’s investors are willing to do the same.

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class="gkFeaturedItemTitle" Ask Melvin Manhoef Anything For a Chance at Winning GLORY Gear

  • Category: Featured
  • Published: Thursday, 15 May 2014 10:01
  • Written by Dave Walsh

Manhoef

If you’ll remember back to our crowd-sourced Nieky Holzken interview we are once again running a similar interview, this time with GLORY Last Man Standing’s Melvin Manhoef. Melvin Manhoef will be involving in the GLORY Last Man Standing Middleweight Championship tournament on June 21st live from Los Angeles. LiverKick has teamed up with FightStadium.com to bring this interview to you with incentives.

Get your questions in for Melvin Manhoef by June 7th and be entered to win free GLORY merchandise, including hats and t-shirts. The best question will be chosen by Melvin Manhoef and the winner will walk away with free GLORY swag courtesy of GLORY Sports International, LiverKick.com and FightStadium.com. So feel free to leave your questions on Facebook, Twitter or in a comment on this article.

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class="gkFeaturedItemTitle" GLORY 17 Still to Feature Four-Man Tournament

  • Category: Featured
  • Published: Monday, 21 April 2014 10:49
  • Written by Dave Walsh

Glory

For those who will be attending GLORY 17 Los Angeles you will be in for quite a night. According to a new interview that GLORY CEO Andrew Whitaker did with MMAMania, we can expect the same quality of programming from GLORY on Spike TV for the near future. They are insistent that their PPV aspirations will not detract from GLORY's Spike TV product one bit. That means that they still plan on holding a one-night, four-man tournament, which has been their focus on Spike TV thus far.

That means that there will be two tournaments in one night and while they have yet to announce which weight class will be featured during the Spike TV portion of GLORY 17, we do know that there will be a Middleweight Champion crowned during "Last Man Standing." From the rumors that we've heard, GLORY might be planning on crowning up to three champions in that one evening, with one being Middleweight and the other two have yet to be disclosed.

We'll keep you apprised of what to expect from GLORY 17 in the coming weeks.

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