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A Look at "The Machine" Andy Ristie Heading Into GLORY 20

GLORY 20 might already be in the books, but if you are waiting to watch it tonight on Spike TV check out this feature that Shar Williams did on Ristie before GLORY 20.

Is he man, machine or a little of both? To fans around the world, Andy Ristie is "The Machine", a man with a fighter's heart and who is guaranteed to leave you on the edge of your seat while watching one of his match-ups. Beginning with his Glory debut in 2012, Ristie has blazed up the lightweight ranks leaving a path of destruction in his wake.

Since 2007, Ristie has faced Hinata Watanabe, Gago Drago, Albert Kraus, Niclas Larsen and of course, "The Doctor" Giorgio Petrosyan. His match-up against Petrosyan left crowds stunned in New York's Madison Square Garden in 2013, as Ristie dethroned Petrosyan during the lightweight world championship tournament and gifted Petrosyan with his first knock out ever. This defense again Kiria in Zagreb ended his reign. Risitie however takes this loss in stride, indicating that there were some problems in his corner and with his coaching. What Ristie, however, does not make is excuses. By Glory 19 in Virginia, Ristie was renewed. Having meticulously examined his loss and preparing for the future, Ristie was ready to begin his ascension again. And begin again he did with a decisive TKO victor in the first round again Steve Moxon.

But who is Andy Ristie, some of you might ask? Who is the man, who in such a short time has taken the kickboxing world by storm and endeared fan to him across the globe? After sitting down with Ristie and his team, I'm not sure if I can even answer that question. Sitting down with Andy, he exudes a warmth but also a sense of determination. He easily states that he's not afraid to fight anyone and will address the matches as they are presented to him. He's reflective when speaking of his loss to Davit Kiria, but in that reflection is also an analysis of how that fight went wrong for him and what he can do better in the future. Ristie states that he normally walks around at approximately 75kg, so cutting weight is not an issue for him and finally he expresses a willingness to try to things and take on new opponents irreguardless of their styles and exprerience. One tidbit of infomation I was able to glean from my converstaion with Ristie was that he came into kickboxing far later than most. Goes to show you that whether you start at age four or age twenty-two, if it's meant to be so it shall be. And this is Andy Ristie.

On pure stylistic terms, Ristie is a force to be reckoned with. In addtion to being taller than most of his opponents he has extremely long legs and arms often giving him an advantage to him against his opponents. Ristie's style is unorthodox and while he mgiht face the same opponent more than once I have to wonder if even they know what to expect. Last, but not least, Ristie likes to go for the knockout and his play between offensive and defensive maneuvers is something that has frequently led to that end.

Now onward to Glory 20 in Dubai where he is set for his second meeting with Robin van Roosmalen. Who will be the victor? Some say van Roosmalen, some say Ristie. Of what I am certain is that both men will get in that ring and give the fans everything they have!

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Dave Walsh's Second Novel -- Terminus Cycle -- Available Now

I'll keep this short because I always feel terrible posting about my own stuff on here (even though I own the site, weird, right?), but my second novel is available now.

It's called Terminus Cycle and is a grand departure from my first. The first was about a professional fighter but I've kind of moved away from that in a big way to start a science fiction series. If you are interested it is available now via Kindle or Paperback.

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New Japan on AXS TV Tonight Features Tanahashi vs. Nakamura

Sure, it's not explicitly kickboxing but we'll always be riding the fact that K-1's roots were in Japanese professional wrestling to the grave.

Tonight on AXS TV they'll be airing another episode of New Japan Pro Wrestling, this time it'll be from the January 4th Tokyo Dome event back in 2014. The match? Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. If you watched this year's Dome show you were probably let down by a lack of pomp and ridiculous entrances, but last year's Dome show they went all out. 

Be prepared for huge entrances for both guys and for Tanahashi to have a reason to play air guitar for once. Of course it is a good match, not the best match of 2014, but one of the best spectacles for sure. It was also an important match considering the fans voted for it to be the main event over the IWGP Title match between Okada and Naito. Tanahashi and Nakamura are the two top guys in New Japan and while they've met a ton of times (Mauro gives the precise number during the call, including tags it is insanity), it is always a special occasion.

AXS does things right when it comes to the presentation. While we all hated those goofy ads that they initially ran for NJPW on AXS, the actual shows themselves are well-presented and the match is bookended by interviews, video packages and storyline context. Mauro and Barnett are as solid as ever and really help to make the match feel as big as it is. So tune in tonight and don't miss this one because it's a big one.

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Dave Walsh's Second Novel -- Terminus Cycle -- Launching on March 24th

Terminus Cycle by Dave Walsh

So really, what's the point of owning and operating a site that gets a lot of traffic if I'm not allowed to advertise on it myself, right? I know how much I charge other people for it and I know that most of them walk away happy with it. So bear with me a minute because no, this is not about kickboxing. Instead it's about me. I know that your gut reaction is either, "ugh, fuck you" or "oh cool." I appreciate either one, at least you are thinking about me, right?

If you'll remember far back into the depths of history you'll remember that I released my first novel back in 2013. It was called "The Godslayer" and it was about a retired MMA fighter coping with life after his retirement when his legacy was beginning to fade and tarnish. I know that I'm kind of a nihilist and that a lot of you thought that it was a bleak outlook on MMA, but it's two years later and from the feedback that I've gotten I can gather that some actually agree now. "The Godslayer" was more of a test than anything else. I wanted to see how much interest that I could drum up and did things as low budget as I could.

This week the pre-order for my next novel went live on Amazon. It is called "Terminus Cycle" and it is entirely different from "The Godslayer." Nothing to do with professional fighting and is instead the beginning of a series of science fiction novels that I plan to release over the next few years. A lot of time and [my own] money went into this, but I'm excited about it. I know that the crossover for this is probably not that great, but still, I know that there are some nerds out there like myself so I urge you to check it out if it sounds like something you'd be interested in. 

It launched on March 24th on Amazon's Kindle, you can pre-order it here. You can also check out a sample chapter on my personal website if you are interested but unsure if its for you.

As always I thank you for your support and thank you for sticking with us over the years. 

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Glory: Analyzing the struggles

Now I'm sure as most fans and followers of Glory are aware things haven't been going too swimmingly for the worlds premiere kickboxing organisation. The promotion has seemed to be struggling ever since a failed attempt at venturing into the pay-per-view market last June. Whilst the event itself could be deemed as a success- a new middleweight champion was crowned and the fights on the night were superb- the pay-per-view numbers would clearly disagree with that assumption.

Since then things have gone from bad to worse. The promotion only managed to produce one event in the second half of 2014 in comparison to the four events held in the opening six months of the year. This significant decrease was likely a result of the financial losses caused by Glory 17, their debut pay-per-view event. 

After hosting Glory 18 in early November the promotion announced that the subsequent event would take place a little over six weeks later, only for the location never to be confirmed and the event consequently scrapped. Cancelling an event is obviously never a good sign and there were numerous rumours circling around on the internet that the promotion may have indeed been in a spot of bother. Representatives from Glory were quick to negate the rumours however, suggesting it was merely an issue with the location. Albeit seemingly out of the promotions hands, hosting one event in the latter half of 2014 is not the kind of tactic you'd recommend employing if you were an up-and-coming business looking to build your brand let alone an international organisation attempting to breakthrough into mainstream America. 

Due to their lack of events Glory allowed several of their fighters to compete on the Kunlun Fights 15 card this past week in China, where unfortunately things continued to worsen for the promotion. Current Heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven lost decisively to heavy underdog Andrej Herasimchuk and Murthel Groenhart- a recent addition to their upcoming Welterweight contender tournament- was thoroughly beaten and eventually knocked out by Sittichai Sitsongpeenong.

Now whilst neither loss will be particularly devastating to either fighters career- Herasimchuk albeit a relative unknown is  clearly very talented and Sittichai is regarded by most as a top 10 ranked competitor in his division- these results deeply hamper Glory's next event whereby both Verhoeven and Groenhart are scheduled to compete. Its quite unlikely the bulk of their viewers on Spike will be aware of the results due to the limited exposure kickboxing receives, however for the rest of us who are avid followers of the sport it just doesn't sit well. 

Whilst I am far from an expert on running an martial arts promotion let alone an international firm with the magnitude of Glory's, I can't help but thinks there's a few things that they could be doing differently.

Firstly the issue of having fighters competing for rival promotions could be solved with more consistency with their live events. Fighters would obviously not feel the need to compete in other promotions should Glory be able to provide them with enough fights annually to make ends meet and Glory's current yearly schedule just doesn't allow them to do that. 

Glory doesn't have a roster that's overflowing with fighters so filling cards could potentially be difficult for them, especially if they were able to churn out events on a monthly basis. We've seen on numerous occasions over the years that kickboxers have the ability and desire to fight in excess of three times per year and I can't imagine there'd be many fighters on Glory's roster that would turn down the opportunity to compete more frequently.

Venturing into the pay-per-view market was clearly a naive move on Glory's part and attempting to do so again could be financially catastrophic. I can't foresee the promotion attempting a second pay-per-view any time soon so its blatantly obvious this is something they should avoid completely for the time being.

I also believe focusing less on hosting events in America could be very beneficial to the promotion. Whilst Glory has worked endlessly to bring the sport into the mainstream in America through their influx of hosting of live events in several different states, it might be time for a change of tactics. Unfortunately Glory just doesn't have any American fighters currently capable of drawing in big gates like they've been able to internationally. 

Canada for example has a strong base of martial arts fans who take a passionate nationalistic approach to supporting their own. Currently, they have a decent contingency of Canadian kickboxers emerging through their ranks with 'Bazooka' Joe Valtellini being their current Welterweight Champion, Gabriel Varga is a likely challenger for their uncrowned Featherweight title and the likes of Robert Thomas and Josh Jauncey poised to be breakout stars in the future. The waters in Canada remain untested by Glory though. 

Whilst the support is ostensibly not as popular as some may think in the Netherlands, you can't help but think with the plethora of Dutch talent Glory has at their disposal that they'd be able to sell-out at least one event annually in kickboxing's second home. Out of the twenty-six events Glory have hosted none have been in the Netherlands.

Other countries like Turkey and Croatia have provided strong attendances previously for Glory and should the promotion return with their respective hometown favourites in Gohkan Saki and Mirko Cro Cop, the events would likely sell-out again. Even the UK should be viewed as a more viable market based purely on the success Muay Thai promotion Yokkao have managed over the past twelve months.

My suggestion is not to saturate the market as the recent criticism and backlash the UFC has received for its torrid schedule is a clear display of why that might not be the smartest move. I do think however increasing the number of events annually whilst reducing the number of events specifically taking place in America could be not only beneficial from a marketing standpoint, but financially too as revenue generated from ticket sales is one of Glory's primary sources of income.

These strategies would allow Glory to simultaneously continue to build their brand and fan base on Spike TV, but also by only keeping their roster happier by allowing them to compete frequently. Hosting more events would also give Glory more of an opportunity to nurture talent. It's no secret that mainstream success in America is the eventual goal, however with a clear deficit of talent emerging from America perhaps its time to go back to the drawing board for Glory with the reintroduction or adaptation of their Road to Glory series. 

I hope this comes as an innocuous message to Glory. I'm not trying to lament on the promotions recent struggles, however I'm merely trying to mitigate the potential issues they could be facing. I sincerely hope my analysis of Glory has been over-exaggerated and the promotion remains robust, having just decided to reduce the number of events as a means of recovering from the fallout of Glory 17. Unfortunately though as these obstacles continue to develop for our beloved Glory, I can't help but wonder whether or not my paranoia is justified and the promotions days could be indeed numbered.

 

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Glory 18: Closing Thoughts and Ongoing Narratives

Glory 18 was an intriguing experience. It didn’t generate as many highlight moments as previous Glory events, but it was nevertheless an event packed full of relentless action and remarkable performances from underdogs who proved that they could step up to the plate and handle a high level of competition. Glory 18 was also a significant chapter in the development of many fighters. We’ll examine this and other ongoing narratives below.

First, let’s talk about Zack Mwekassa. His incredible story of survival and endurance captured our interest, and his explosive KO of Pat Barry captured our attention. He is a figure seemingly poised to breakout as another star in Glory, combining explosive power with boxing technique that trumps that of many experienced kickfighters. He is a fighter with a lot of potential, and tonight, we saw flashes of what he could achieve with that potential, knocking American Muay Thai veteran Brian Collette out cold with a thundering hook. That said, he clearly has much to learn about the kickboxing game, and the challenge for Mwekassa will be to develop a kickboxing style that complements his physical gifts and athleticism and which allows him to make the most of his boxing prowess, perhaps in the vein of his legendary predecessor Mark Bernardo. Incorporating more low kicks would be a good start to counteracting fighters who will look to stay at range from his granite fists. With time, Mwekassa will wisen up to the classic kickboxing tactics, especially the low kick to high kick trap that countless kickboxers including Peter Aerts have used to devastating effect. As Mwekassa learns the kickboxing game, I anticipate that he will only become fiercer and more monstrous as a kickboxer. Until then, he will continue to capture our hearts with his eloquence and personality, both of which are key to establishing himself as a presence in the fight world.

Wayne Barrett similarly finds himself appreciating the depth of the kickboxing game. Coming off of an incredible Middleweight tournament run that saw Barrett KO Bogdan Stoica, Jason Wilnis seemed like a winnable fight for the American, but what we saw revealed a noticeable lack of comfort on Barrett’s part with initiating offense and dictating the pace of the fight. It seems like he expected Wilnis to come forward more aggressively like Robin van Roosmalen, Albert Kraus, and other Dutch combination punchers, but Wilnis turned the tables by letting Barrett initiate exchanges. While Barrett was less tentative offensively in this fight than he was against Joe Schilling, he will need to make more progress because like Jason Wilnis, future opponents will not let Barrett establish his excellent counterpunching game.

Both Jason Wilnis and Saulo Cavalari deserve credit for demonstrating what excellent gameplanning can accomplish in kickboxing. Wilnis shut Wayne Barrett down by allowing Barrett to initiate the offense while punishing him with punches and low kicks. It was a strategy that threw Barrett off of his game completely, demonstrating a brilliance and maturity on part of himself and his team. Similarly, Saulo Cavalari used two very different gameplans to great effect in the LHW contender tournament, smothering Danyo Illunga with offense at close range while using distance, speed, and low kicks against the powerful Mwekassa. Wilnis and Cavalari proved to great effect that playing against the strengths of their opponent can swing the momentum of a fight.

What is there to say about Robin van Roosmalen vs. Davit Kiria 3? The fight played out much the same as their previous bouts, but both fighters acquitted themselves well in the cardio department. Robin van Roosmalen competed in five rounds for the first time tonight, and he proved that he can hit just as hard in the fifth round as he does in the first. As a fighter who weathers the storm in order to find an opening, this was Kiria’s fight to lose as he simply couldn’t match Robin’s work rate. I suspect that Robin will likely draw Andy Ristie next; it will be interesting to see how he plans to avenge one of the most significant losses of his career.

Once again, the SuperFight Series fighters earned their share of the spotlight, which is why it is continually puzzling that Glory keeps some of its most anticipated fights off of Spike. Benny Adegbuyi vs. Hesdy Gerges was a heavyweight barn burner, but unfortunately for many fans who are restricted from accessing Glory’s online stream, this was a great fight that they just couldn’t see. Also worth watching is the development of Josh Jauncey, not only because he’s a friend of the site but also because he is putting a lot of potential on display. Jauncey divides his time between training with his family at Team WKX and Team Souwer in the Netherlands, where he’s impressed Andy Souwer himself. The future looks bright for the young British Canadian; it will be interesting to see how his career unfolds.

In closing, let’s talk about Glory itself. This is the first event promoted by the organization after a long period of reorganization that saw the appointment of a new CEO. Jon Franklin had promised changes on the production side, and it’s encouraging to see that the quality of the product remained high. Notable during this broadcast was more prominent sponsorship, from more logos in the ring to new TV commercials built specifically around the Glory product. Glory chose a small venue for this event, and while I doubt the gate was enough to break even, it’s encouraging that Glory can still produce a good night of fights in light of necessary cost cutting. That said, major questions remain: 1) What will happen to Gokhan Saki, Tyrone Spong, and Joe Schilling? All three fighters have revealed that their contracts with the organization have expired. It has long been rumored that Saki and Spong demand a high asking price for Glory, and based on previous comments by Franklin, it sounds like Glory may be willing to part ways with them. This would be a surprise considering that Saki is the Glory LHW champion--but at this point who knows. Schilling is by far the more shocking case as he is arguably Glory’s first breakout star. It doesn’t bode well for other fighters, especially for other breakouts like Wayne Barrett and Mwekassa, that Schilling and Glory can’t reach a deal. What the future holds in store for us is unclear, but at least for the time being, Glory is still capable of bringing an excellent night of action to you.

Finally, unless he’s involved in community theater or something, referee Al Wichgers really needs to decide on a hair color for himself and to stick to it. Personally, I think he looks perfectly fine with gray hair.

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Badr Hari Publicly Announces Social Media Explanation

Badr Hari has finally made a video to publicly explain to everyone what has been going on with his social media accounts. I'm not sure how these fake accounts got verified without his consent but I can't help but feel there is more to the story. Anyway he has had all these fake accounts closed down and opened his own REAL accounts which he says he will have a team running for him. I wonder how long it will take for this team to do something he doesn't like and then these will become fake accounts as well, hopefully that doesn't happen, but only time will tell. His accounts have been quite active with videos and pictures, so if you're a Badr fan here is his FacebookTwitter, and Website which is coming soon.

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The Wonderful World of Kickboxing

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As those of us who’ve been around for a while might say, when it comes to the sport of kickboxing, no news is typically bad news. We’ve been hearing a lot of rumors about Glory in the past few months--from murky accounts of an organization on dire straits to assurances by some of our professional kickboxing journalist pals that they have the exclusive scoop on BIG NEWS which has simply been embargoed by Glory for the time being. The fact remains that we haven’t heard anything substantive from Glory since July. There was talk of more SpikeTV content and of an event to be held at the end of October--we’re still waiting for any of these things to materialize. This behavior is worrisome for those of us who followed the scene as recently as 2012, when K-1 made promise after promise of a big comeback that ultimately never took place. It would be sad to see Glory succumb to the same fate as its ambitious predecessors, with K-1 and It’s Showtime telling the tale of how unforgiving the fight business can be.

Kickboxing in particular is a very strange industry, one that appears very active at a glance but which tells a far more sobering story beneath the surface. If we judged the scene solely on the number of events held annually, we might think that things look pretty good, with organizations like LEGEND, Global FC, Top King, A-1, and SuperKombat making news on sites like this one with fight cards featuring big name talent. While the accessibility of this content is highly variable, from robust TV broadcasts to mislabeled camera phone footage posted on YouTube, there are nevertheless fights happening all over the world and subsequently news and results which we can report to you.

But the difference between offering you a survey of sundry action from around the globe and a developing narrative that you can follow and become engrossed in is the difference between Kickboxing as a mere curiosity and as a sport in its own right. There are plenty of Kickboxing and Muay Thai videos that show up on MMA sites, but as much as their readers might appreciate them, they will never get the same first person experience of being there when iconic and spectacular moments unfold--memories of being glued to your TV when Andy Hug landed that spinning back kick or when Joe Schilling knocked Simon Marcus out cold. These moments were real, and they made us believe in this sport and dream about the possibilities. Call it a pet peeve, but I find it a little heartbreaking when brilliant retrospectives of great kickboxing moments wind up on MMA sites under “look at what this might teach us about MMA technique!” headings.

No one in particular is to blame for how things have turned out for kickboxing. Ultimately the success of any venture depends on the convergence of talent, a solid product, proper promotion, and a receptive market at an opportune moment in time. Kickboxing had various combinations of these things at different points in time, but the times and circumstances changed. The downfall of K-1 had as much to do with its management as it did with evolving trends in the Japanese entertainment market. Many factors came into play, but unfortunately, things ended for K-1 in an ugly way, leaving fighters with substantial outstanding earnings which they may never be able to fully collect. However, let us not kid ourselves about what it takes to build a real professional sport league. We’ve seen plenty of flamboyant millionaire playboys from around the world blow their money to party with celebrities and to book their favorite kickboxers for an evening of entertainment. Some of these mysterious rich dudes will even slap a label on their “organization” and take lots of photos with kickboxing bigwigs to make things look legit, but we all know that trying to produce a sustainable sports entertainment venue for the masses takes a lot more vision and tenacity than that. No matter how flashy their shows get, the playboys are not going to save Kickboxing, and neither will the small promotions like Top King (although we’ll give it a chance, just like we always do--that’s the story of Kickboxing, right?) that seem to come and go every year.

We really hope that Glory will actually make it. It seems like the formula’s been there--Glory had enough money, the right talent, the right TV deal, and an ostensible understanding of the business startup process (God knows there are enough smart-sounding former hedge fund/venture capital people on board--how many of them does it take to screw in a light bulb?). Where do things stand now? We really don’t know. We do know that there have been no shows in three months, and if it is indeed true that Glory is coming to Oklahoma on November 7, then that will make four months since its last show. We really hope that the lights will stay on at Glory because as kickboxing fans, we’ve looked forward for a long time to not living in the dark of the sports world. 

 

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Kickboxing and the Curious Case of Eternal Fatalism

We are, as they say, at a bit of an impasse in the sport of kickboxing right now. It’s difficult to avoid, difficult to make eye contact with and not look away. We’ve been at this place before, though, which is why it feels so awful this time around. Back in 2010 it looked like the sport of kickboxing was heading for imminent doom and destruction. FEG was a sinking ship and they were taking on water -- fast -- faster than they ever wanted to publicly admit. 

Things were looking bleak for the sport of kickboxing at that time, but there was still hope. There were still people who were passionate about the sport, who wanted to do everything that they could for it. You had Simon Rutz and Bas Boon at each other’s throats, but both men were passionate and willing to do what it took to keep the sport afloat. You had Romanian promoter Eduard Irimia ready to expand beyond Romania. You had men with vision. Followed by the men with money to go with that passion.

As I stated before, we are at an impasse at the moment. The Japanese fight market has shrunk, shrunk to the point of almost being dead, but not quite. It doesn’t exist like it did what feels like a lifetime ago. What exists now is a facsimile of the grandeur that we knew before. Simulacra, a copy of a copy of a copy with adjustments made for degradation. Europe and America were always the wild west for kickboxing; that was clearly where the money was, but would it be able to reach the great heights that were achieved in Japan and Asia? 

Enter GLORY. GLORY took a gamble, filtering millions of dollars into the sport that was on its knees after losing its king. Without a doubt the K-1 name held the prestige, it had done things that no one thought possible with the fringe sport of kickboxing. The rise of K-1 meant making the rest of the sport of kickboxing look silly in the process. The end result is that kickboxing rules aren’t kickboxing rules anymore, they are K-1 Rules. The name K-1 is intrinsically linked with the sport of kickboxing even to this day, for good or for bad. 

So GLORY was set to fill the hole that was left by FEG’s bankruptcy with big promises, fireworks and a roster of capable production crew and the best fighters in the world. Sights were set on America, on taking on the leviathan market where the UFC rose from obscurity into a sport appearing regularly on Fox programming and had weaseled its way into becoming a household name. This was kickboxing’s white whale and, for a while, things were looking good.

Spike TV was hungry for the next big combat sport after they lost the UFC to Fox Sports, scooping up Bellator and then K-1. K-1 withdrew their name from the hat to restructure, leaving Spike TV ready to accept GLORY into the fold. Kickboxing had finally made it, it was on cable television in the United States. The first show happened and the ratings were in. They weren’t great, but they weren’t bad, either. There was promise. 

Since then there have been the good times and the bad times, but what became increasingly clear was that there was no competition for GLORY anywhere out there. GLORY was doing things right, it was paying the fighters what they deserved to be paid, treating them with respect and doing everything right. Growing pains are real, though, especially when the anticipated growth doesn’t live up to the reality. Kickboxing was, for all intents and purposes, a new sport to many fans out there. It was a part of the whole that is Mixed Martial Arts, thus, it was fringe. There has been growth, but the growth is slow, it is costly and it is frustrating. 

GLORY’s last event was GLORY 17/Last Man Standing on June 21st, which, as of the time that I write this, was two months ago. Since then there have been rumors, whispers and public decrees from fans; GLORY is dead. If you read forums or comment sections on websites you’ll hear all about it, you’ll hear that so-and-so’s trainer said that the company is bankrupt, you’ll hear that shows have been canceled, that members of the board are ready to depart, that payments have been filtering in late. For the kickboxing faithful these are all triggers, things that will bring back that long-forgotten PTSD that came with the dissolution of FEG’s K-1 back in 2010 and 2011.

Then there are those that like to watch the world burn, who are calling for the end. These are the fatalists. We’ve had private assurances from many within GLORY that right now is simply a time of restructuring, of regrouping, of changing strategies. Yesterday’s announcement of a new CEO was the first step. But, let’s give in to hysteria, to fatalism. Let’s say that GLORY has a few shows left and then, just as quickly as they emerged, they disappear into the ether of kickboxing history.

Who is there to pick up the pieces this time? Where are the Bas Boons looking to find anyone, to compromise his own visions and brands, to make things work? Where are the Simon Rutz’s running the #2 promotion and ready to take on the financial burden of being the de facto #1? Where are the Pierre Andurands, Ivan Farnetis, Scott Rudmanns and others who are willing to take a risk with their own personal money to invest in the sport? Where are your GLORY replacements where these now out-of-the-job fighters have to find work with?

The market right now is a mess. In a way, you can blame GLORY for the mess. GLORY was looking to be the alpha and omega in kickboxing, which meant exclusive contracts, which meant paying what others couldn’t pay, treating fighters unlike they were used to be treated. So you’ll tell me LEGEND Fight Show, the same promotion that put on three events thus far, only one in 2014 with nothing scheduled yet. So you’ll tell me GFC, the guys that are paying Badr Hari a mint to compete for them, because you were able to watch that last show from your couch, right? Because outside of Badr Hari they are stacking cards with expensive talent, right?

So you’ll say Enfusion, K-1 or SuperKombat. I’ll say that all three are great promotions in their own right, each one growing in their own way, with their own unique business plans and markets. How many of them see a broad market as their audience right now? K-1 is focused on Asia, Enfusion is focused on the UK and SuperKombat is focused on Romania. You might say that if GLORY simply disappears like Criss Angel in a stunt that they’ll be able to bolster their rosters with big names, but where does that money come from? The end of It’s Showtime came from overreaching and hiring top talents. 

Right now nobody has what FEG’s K-1 had in a television partner that was willing to sink millions of their own money into each event and, realistically, we might never see that again. GLORY doesn’t even have that right now. Instead, GLORY has a good deal with Spike TV, but one that bears little fruit for either side right now and might take years to build up properly, to build an audience and really start making money. 

The rise of GLORY was both beneficial and detrimental to the sport of kickboxing. If GLORY ceases to be, then the sport of kickboxing is set back even further than when FEG’s K-1 ceased to be. If you consider yourself a fan of kickboxing then at this moment the sport will require something of you. The sport will require your faith. If GLORY says that they aren’t done yet, then, well, they aren’t done yet. In the meantime we can only hope that Enfusion, K-1, SuperKombat and others continue to grow and find themselves in better positions to provide stability for both fans and fighters alike.

For now, let's save our eulogies and instead focus on the sport that we all love. 

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LiverKick Throwback: Kohi vs. Nitta K-1 World MAX Japan Finals 2005

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.

Today we go back to 2005, we go back to a time when Japan was the undoubted home of kickboxing and K-1 was king. K-1's MAX division was on fire and K-1 had a legitimate star in Masato. The past few weeks I've been thinking about how much I miss the days when Japan was the epicenter for the sport of kickboxing and the best way to sum up what is missing is to look at the K-1 MAX Japan tournaments. Masato was K-1's MAX star, but there were a host of other Japanese fighters who got a big push from K-1 to be that big star. There was Kozo Takeda, Taishin Kohiruimaki, Yuya Yamamoto, Yuichiro Nagashima, Yasuhiro Kido and Yoshihiro Sato.

Each fighter had varying results, some showed more promise than others, while you had guys like Kozo Takeda who just went down swinging as a cult hero that nobody had huge expectations for in the end. If there was ever one guy who had that chance, it was Taishin (also known as Takayuki) Kohiruimaki. Kohi won the K-1 World MAX Japan tournament a whopping three times, in 2004, 2005 and 2009, but still failed to really catch on with Japanese fans. In fact, he was often-times booed by fans. 

Kohi had the look, the ability, but his personality and fighting style just weren't up to snuff when compared to Masato. Masato was exciting, personable and charismatic, while Kohi fit more into the mold of a Remy Bonjasky in the ring and he wasn't that great of an interview or public figure. 

All of this being said, Kohi was still an awesome fighter and while he may have "choked" a bit whenever he got to the big stage, he really was one of the kings of the MAX Japan tournaments. What better way to highlight that than his awesome, awesome fight against Akeomi Nitta in the K-1 World MAX Japan 2005 Finals?

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