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K-1 Signs Former UFC Fighter Paul Daley

Paul Daley

Today we got word from K-1 Global that they were going to be announcing a huge signing. As we saw in the past with their signing of Buakaw Banchamek, when they say that they've signed someone big, they usually mean it. This time was no different, as they announced today that former UFC and Strikeforce fighter Paul Daley. Paul Daley has been focusing on Kickboxing thus far in 2014, with three Kickboxing fights and three knockouts under his belt.

These knockouts aren't just against local boys, either. Two of those knockouts are against big names in Kickboxing, one was Alexander Stetsurenko, the other against Alexander Surzkho at LEGEND 3: Pour Homme. So needless to say, this guy has looked super impressive in Kickboxing and there has been a lot of speculation about him making the move into either K-1 or GLORY. This is a huge win for K-1 in this case, because Paul Daley has chosen to go with the most recognized name in the sport of Kickboxing by the way of K-1.

Daley will be fighting at 80kg (about 176lbs) and will make his debut for K-1 in their July outing in Thailand, which will be the K-1 World MAX Finals featuring Buakaw Banchamek vs. Enriko Kehl. Paul Daley will be fighting next on April 25th in Slovenia at FFC12 against Miran Fabjan.

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Badr Hari Claims Ernesto Hoost Tried to 'Fix' a Fight

Badr Hari

According to Dutch site at5, Badr Hari has made claims in his upcoming autobiography that Ernesto Hoost had attempted to "fix" a Badr Hari fight in 2008. In typical Badr Hari fashion, this is mildly controversial.

'He once tried to make a deal with me, it was on Hawaii in 2008. He proposed I take it easy for the first two rounds and really see who's the best in Round 3. Hoost, the coward.'

Ernesto Hoost denies the accusations. 'I did talk to Badr about fighting at one time, but this is completely made up by him. Total nonsense.'

The fight in question would be from the 2008 K-1 World Grand Prix in Hawaii against Domagoj Ostojic. I'm not sure that Ernesto Hoost would have much of a reason to ask Badr Hari to go lightly on Ostojic, so yeah, the story makes little sense. If it was about a fight with Hoost, well, he was retired but possibly planning on a comeback at that point. If Hari is claiming that Hoost approached him about a future fight where Hari takes it easy on him in the future, only Badr really knows.

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Gokhan Saki Won More Than GLORY's Light Heavyweight Championship

Saki

Respect. Respect is what Gokhan Saki earned at GLORY 15 Istanbul.

Going into Saturday’s GLORY 15 Istanbul I found myself concerned. Not concerned over how Spike TV’s ratings would be or that any fighter was in any danger, but I was concerned that the Gokhan Saki that we saw in Chicago at GLORY 11 would resurface again. I was concerned that the local fans in Istanbul would not only give him a pass, but cheer him on. The Saki that I’m referring to is one that found it prudent to shove a referee and let his emotions get the better of him. The Gokhan Saki that had lost his way.

The months following GLORY 11 were a bit frustrating for long-time fans of Gokhan Saki. Saki was angry, very angry, because he lost a fight that he felt that he should have easily won and that he was wronged by the official. All fighters have tough nights and that night Saki had one. The problem was that Saki, whom had endeared himself to fans for years for not only being a scrappy, talented fighter, but a guy who loved his fans and wouldn’t let them down, was letting people down. I know that he let me down with the talk about lawsuits, being robbed and even potentially leaving GLORY for another organization because of a referee’s missed call. We’ve seen referees make the wrong call in the past before and know that the organization has no control over it and that referees have a very tough job.

What was tough to stomach was that Rico Verhoeven worked very hard for his tournament victory and that night that helped to define his career. That night was forever tainted and in a way, taken away from him, due to Saki’s words and actions post-fight. Now legions of fans would view Verhoeven’s big night as “tainted,” something that a guy like Saki should understand all-too-well from all of his battles. Saki has had nights with controversy in them before, just like he’s had disappointment and heartbreak before.

This is why at GLORY 15 Gokhan Saki was able to not only prove himself to be the great fighter that he is, but the great sportsman that we all knew that he always was. Saki found himself against two of the best fighters in the world, with both fights ending via stoppage due to injury. Those injuries, without a doubt, came from Saki’s work. In the case of Nathan Corbett, Corbett took a left hand to the ear that almost tore his ear off, requiring him to have plastic surgery to repair it. Saki was graceful in his victory and was legitimately concerned and supportive of Corbett after the fact.

Then came the main event against Tyrone Spong. This was the fight that we were all waiting for and that we all wanted to see something that we didn’t end up getting. We wanted a war, we wanted a classic, we wanted the rematch. Instead, Saki went to check a leg kick and Tyrone’s kick was a bit high, connecting on his knee and instantly snapping his shin. Saki didn’t run around celebrating, even though he had just won $200,000 and the GLORY Light Heavyweight Championship. Saki didn’t cut an interview saying how he meant to do that, or that he knew he could have broken Tyrone’s leg. No. Saki immediately ran to check on Tyrone and remained humble throughout the rest of the night.

Gokhan Saki wanted the win and will remain proud of his victory, but he didn’t want to win in that way. He knows that an injury like that isn’t common and that the fans wanted to see Saki pick up a clear-cut victory over Spong. Saki also knows that his fellow competitors are human beings just like him, especially after he moved from the Netherlands to Abu Dhabi due to personal reasons and needing to clear his head. What we saw from Gokhan Saki at GLORY 15 was enough to remind us that Gokhan Saki is not only a skilled, powerful and talented guy, but that he’s a fighter that fans can be proud to be a fan of.

Kickboxing and GLORY didn’t need an angry, resentful Gokhan Saki, they needed this Gokhan Saki. This Gokhan Saki as one of their champions can only help GLORY and the sport of Kickboxing in the long run. This Gokhan Saki is the guy that I’m a fan of and will always be excited to watch step into the ring. I'm proud to consider myself a fan of Gokhan Saki.

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The LiverKick.com GLORY 15 Preview and Predictions

GLORY 15

Tomorrow in Istanbul, Turkey, GLORY will present GLORY 15 Istanbul. GLORY 15 is slated to feature the GLORY Light Heavyweight Championship tournament, featuring Tyrone Spong, Saulo Cavalari, Gokhan Saki and Nathan Corbett. The winner will walk away as the first GLORY Light Heavyweight Champion, which is a huge, huge deal. So let’s run through the card.

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Sponsored: Right Guard For the Win

Right Guard

So let's get one thing straight here, we all use antiperspirant and deodorant (or at least I hope we all do. Seriously.) and know that it can sometimes be a pain. For most of us it is a bit of a strange ritual that we have to partake in to apply it without making a giant mess of our shirts. If you roll some on first, no matter how careful you think you are when you pull a shirt over your head, there is a good chance of some unsightly white marks appearing somewhere on it. Then there is the whole thing of if you do end up sweating even a little bit, your shirt will have white stains that you have to scrub out.

Antiperspirants and deodorants are a part of our everyday life, so why not have them not be a hassle, right? That is what Right Guard is going for with Right Guard Xtreme Care. Right Guard Xtreme Care promises the same level of wetness and odor protection without all of the white residues all over the place. That's Right Guard for the Win.

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Sponsored: Right Guard For the Win

Right Guard

So let's get one thing straight here, we all use antiperspirant and deodorant (or at least I hope we all do. Seriously.) and know that it can sometimes be a pain in the ass. For most of us it is a bit of a strange ritual that we have to partake in to apply it without making a giant mess of our shirts. If you roll some on first, no matter how careful you think you are when you pull a shirt over your head, there is a good chance of some unsightly white marks appearing somewhere on it. Then there is the whole thing of if you do end up sweating even a little bit, your shirt will have white stains that you have to scrub out.

Antiperspirants and deodorants are a part of our everyday life, so why not have them not be a hassle, right? That is what Right Guard is going for with Right Guard Xtreme Care. Right Guard Xtreme Care promises the same level of wetness and odor protection without all of the white residues all over the place. That's Right Guard for the Win.

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Steven Wright: I Know That Cyborg Lost, But Jorina Won!

Jorina

When I think about my prediction of Jorina (pronounced Yorina as the J's are pronounced like Y's in Holland) over Cyborg, I didn't even have to mull it over long. In truth, I don't even think I picked an upset. Jorina Baars is way better than Chris Cyborg in Muay Thai and kickboxing. Jorina Baars has beaten far better fighters than Cris Cyborg. Jorina throws solid combinations, lands flush low kicks, moves extremely well, has awesome timing on her teeps and step up knees, and most importantly for someone fighting Cyborg, Jorina is big for the weight class. She is 5'11 and has fought over 150 pounds before. So this means that a clinch and pressure game is tough to do on her, even though Jorina isn't particularly strong in the clinch for a tall fighter. The only thing Cyborg had going for her was aggression. Some thought power would be an obstacle, but Jorina has been hit harder by other fighters, including one that used to be a guy. Not to mention, the gauntlet of training in Holland. Cyborg's only chance was to make the fight ugly, throwing Jorina on the ground and landing wild shots. She was only able to do this in spots, and was beaten throughout the five round fight. Yet I couldn't help but be bothered by the fact that on the strength of her name and history in MMA, people thought that she would be able to just show up and dominate in Muay Thai. This is the lost narrative of a fight that people only see value in discussing the loser, not the winner.

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Cris Cyborg: Negative Narrative, Uplifting Performance

LF

 

There’s something awfully self-serving about wanting a fighter to lose. It reflects a deeper emotional connection to the fight that elevates it from a mere contest of skill and athleticism to a form of theater. The fighters are suddenly characters in a play with the fight and its outcome having a profound outcome on their narrative trajectories, and as viewers, we are emotionally engaged in that. Savvy promoters who appreciate this may find clever ways to engage our feelings, using various tools and devices to frame the story and its characters in a way that’s more gripping and engaging, where Fighter A becomes that person from Nowheresville who is looking for their big break while Fighter B is that person who’s been talking big and acting like they own the sport. Some readers might go further and call these characters Faces and Heels. That’s a line, however, that some fans don’t like to cross: scripted drama, they say, yet deliberate or not, the narrative process is exactly the same.

What then do we make of Cris Cyborg? The drama is well known and the key words require no elaboration: Steroids. Cheating. Ronda Rousey. Tito Ortiz. Dana White. Why do some fans (at least in the MMA world) choose to hate her? Because of her appearance combined with her accomplishments? Because they think all of her success is due to taking steroids despite only being busted once? Because she calls out Ronda Rousey? Does that make Rousey (ironically) the Face in all of this? Who’s writing the script now?

As powerful and *natural* as narrative is, sometimes it may blind us from appreciating something that’s far more important in this instance: that last night, Cris Cyborg and Jorina Baars put on one of the best fights of the year and possibly one of the all time best fights in women’s kickboxing. It was a battle that saw both fighters dig deep physically and technically, putting on a performance that was worthy of a stage far grander than the Hard Rock in Las Vegas. It was a spectacle that should rightly serve as a career highlight for both fighters, who each landed incredibly hard shots and rallied back from dangerous positions. This is a fight that we should be grateful for seeing with both fighters deserving our admiration and praise.

One of the best things about the K-1 promotional model was its tendency to highlight positive storylines and gloss over negative press. This could be frustrating at times when honesty was demanded, especially with regard to issues like Badr Hari’s behavior and fighter pay. Yet, the ability to sell these storylines allowed us to focus on the fights, not the mud and dirt of the fight business (which believe me, goes to far murkier depths than you or I will ever get to hear about). After all, does having a front row seat to situations that should play out behind closed doors really accomplish anything? Why are the petty squabbles between Dana White and Tito Ortiz every fan’s business? As fans, let’s focus on enjoying the fights and let the so-called “businesspeople” (such as they are) worry about the rest. Let’s enjoy the moment. If you’re new to kickboxing and watch MMA predominantly, I can say that last night, you got treated to a certain caliber of a fight (for free) and an experience that is rare, so rather than dwelling on what this means for Cyborg and the UFC, let’s take a moment to celebrate the incredible toughness of Cris Cyborg and the awesome talent of Jorina Baars.

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Kickboxing Needs to Bring Their Content to the Fans

Enfusion

Kickboxing is a frustrating sport sometimes. There, I said it.

Kickboxing has been struggling to find its identity over the past few years. That might seem like a bit of an ominous statement, but when you look at how many different organizations we’ve seen in different mediums, how many star Kickboxers we’ve seen retire or rise to prominence, or how many we’ve seen languish in smaller promotions you’ll see what I’m talking about. Right now is an interesting transition period for the sport of Kickboxing and a vital time for the sport where it could either grow to be huge or it could fail and return to obscurity. How that product gets to the fans is probably the most vital part of the sport right now, even more important than the quality of the fights themselves.

The landscape right now is like this; GLORY airs on Spike TV in the United States and then has various, smaller television deals throughout Europe and Asia. K-1 is currently attempting to negotiate television deals while providing free streams via their website. SuperKombat airs on EuroSport and a few smaller networks in different spots in the world. Enfusion is in a similar spot to SuperKombat. Then there are various, regional Kickboxing events that get solid coverage locally but not much anywhere else.

Like I’ve been saying, it’s a very strange and fragmented sport for the time being. There are talks of GLORY considering moving some select, bigger events to PPV here in the United States, starting with GLORY 17. It would probably be in the vein of the UFC model, where the prelims would be on Spike TV and the main card on PPV, which is fine, the only issue is that PPV as a medium is a dying one. The concept of Pay-Per-View in the United States began in the 50’s but came to prominence in the 70’s and 80’s when Boxing took a shine to the concept of selling live broadcasts of big fights through cable systems.

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Kickboxing's Role in a Time of Turmoil

Nabiev

I try to follow the elite fighters of the world on social media, Facebook, twitter, and on Instagram. Despite the language barrier, the fighters usually post things in English, or post a picture with a smily face or something, allowing me to keep up. So as I go down my Instagram wall, I notice that Russian based(Dagestani by birth) fighter Dhabar Askerov had been posting pictures of Russian president Vladimir Putin. Now again, I don't understand the words that accompany the picture, but I will say that Putin looks pretty damn cool in the pictures. Often wearing shades and seems to cool to be bothered by the events of the world. Adding to this, Artem Levin is another Russian fighter who has several pictures of himself and the National Muay Thai team with President Putin. In fact, international Russian fighter Artem Vahkitov is in one of the pictures with Putin, all of the men proud to be in the presence of one another. I also follow Ukrainian kickboxing star Artur Kyshenko. As I watched his recent post on Instagram I noticed that he has crossed himself out of the Legend poster, the Russian promotion that used him on their card last year. Adding to this, Kyshenko recently posted a pick of him in his Ukrainian youth, wearing his national colors at the podium of an amateur Muay Thai event. It most be noted that there is a chance this is complete coincidence, as the youth pick is a comparison pick and Kyshenko was injured after the first fight in the tournament, so he could have crossed himself out because of that. Also, I do not think that the fighters are in anyways enemies, but as one could imagine, there is no way that they couldn't be effected by the events between the Ukraine and Russia.

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