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."
Compared to GLORY 14 headliner Mirko Cro Cop, Pat Barry is just not as popular. This is even with Mirko Cro Cop being off of American television for a few years, out of the spotlight that he had from the UFC. What's interesting to note, though, is that Pat Barry does bring the "UFC fighter" tag along with him, which is perhaps the most valuable one in combat sports today outside of being Floyd Mayweather. Let's look at how disparate the numbers are between even UFC, MMA and Kickboxing.
As you can see, the UFC brand is clearly tops. This brings us to the important question as to where GLORY Kickboxing stands in the lexicon of combat sports right now. I'd compare to the UFC, but it's an unfit comparison and doesn't even register on these charts, so we'll pare it down. What is important to note here is that while GLORY might have the talent, production and shows, the K-1 name is still the most valuable one in the sport of Kickboxing and has only seen a marginal drop in search density since the FEG fall of 2010.
In truth, it is hard to quantify GLORY's popularity in this manner due to how vague the term "GLORY" really is. Searching a search engine for the term "Glory" will yield the 1989 film of the same name, or, if you are like me and signed into your Google account, it'll bring up GLORY Kickboxing results because Google keeps track of your every search, which is kind of creepy. What we can pay attention to is the clear growth that GLORY Kickboxing has seen in the past year.
What's important to take away from all of this is to not pin your hopes on Pat Barry or any individual fighter in the near future. We've seen over the past few shows that television ratings can fluctuate at the whim of competing sporting events, television time slots, the weather and everything in between. Nothing will happen overnight, but Pat Barry's jump to GLORY, as well as recent happenings in Kickboxing like Paul Daley's newfound love for the sport, shows that "if you build it, they will come." GLORY is currently building an infrastructure that has seen a fighter leave the loving embrace of the largest, most prestigious MMA promotion in the world to return to the sport of Kickboxing.
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 second novel, Terminus Cycle, launches on March 24th.