GLORY 18 was this past weekend, emanating from Oklahoma and featuring a Light Heavyweight Contender’s tournament as well as a Lightweight title match between Davit Kiria and Robin van Roosmalen. By this point it had been over four months since GLORY had any live programming on Spike TV, another break that may have proven to be a bit too long considering that GLORY is still in its growth phase and doesn’t have the luxury of hoping that fans will stick around for months without much in the way of news.
Like I mentioned before, the last live programming from GLORY on Spike TV was GLORY 17 Los Angeles on June 21st. After that it was just rumors and conjecture. In hindsight, maybe it wasn’t the best idea to take that much time to regroup, I don’t know.
There were some definite hurdles for GLORY 18 to overcome on Friday night, the first of which was being off of television for so long. The second factor that came into play here was that the UFC was running a card at the exact same time featuring Michael Bisping vs. Luke Rockhold. In an age of watered down UFC cards, the Bisping vs. Rockhold card turned out to be a pretty damned solid show and honestly, my Twitter timeline was full of people talking about it and it exclusively. Another big factor is moving from Saturday nights to Friday nights, which seemed like a good idea if unopposed, but then UFC happened. The other factor is less starpower on the card, which I’m not sure I take as seriously.
As a kickboxing fan do I love most of these bigger name guys like Gokhan Saki, Tyrone Spong, Daniel Ghita and a few others, but if we are entirely honest here, none have proven to be television draws here in the United States. It just is what it is. So I’m not sure that I buy that Davit Kiria vs. Robin van Roosmalen isn’t as much of a draw as Nieky Holzken being in a Welterweight tournament or Tyrone Spong and Gokhan Saki in a Light Heavyweight tournament.
The final numbers for GLORY 18 are 352,000 viewers with a peak of 648,000. Comparatively, those numbers fall in line with what has been the lowest rated GLORY event on Spike TV yet which was GLORY 15 with 354,000 viewers. Like I said before, there are a LOT of factors in play here, but the good news is that the pared-down and scaled back GLORY 18 was still able to hold a steady audience, which is nothing to scoff at.
All that GLORY really needs right now is some momentum. We spoke with GLORY CEO Jon J. Franklin yesterday and he wants fans to remain optimistic and remember the uphill battle that both GLORY and the sport of kickboxing are facing in the US today.
"You have to put this in perspective. We are not just building a brand; we are building a sport in the US and we now will be doing a better job of showcasing our product with regular events to build a fan base not just for GLORY, but for US kickboxing in general. It was a great night of fights and anyone who watched it will be back for our next SPIKE event on December 19th."
Some might see this as a problem, but with Spike’s ongoing commitment to GLORY and GLORY’s commitment to bringing the best fighters in the world to your television screen this is just another challenge for the company to overcome.