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GLORY 18 Rumored for November 7th in Oklahoma City

  • Published in Glory

So things have been very quiet on the GLORY front over the last few months, which has been both troubling and peaceful in many ways. The thing is, the people demand blood, they demand action, they demand Glory. GLORY's new CEO had announced that there would be a show in late October, but it looks like early November is more like it. November 7th to be exact, which yes, is indeed a Friday. What's interesting about that is that Bellator is currently not scheduled to run anything on that week, leaving Friday on Spike TV wide open.

Is this a part of a new strategy? It very well could be. We've received reports from a few fighters and a few other sources stating that November 7th in Oklahoma City will indeed be the time and place for GLORY 18. Now we just have to wait and see if everything pans out according to plan. 

Remember this is indeed a rumor, even if we have multiple sources pointing to this happening. 


GLORY 11 Was Kickboxing's American Coming Out Party

  • Published in Glory


Yesterday was a pretty tense day for me and a few other people, as GLORY made their Spike TV debut with GLORY 11. For me, I've been running Kickboxing-oriented sites for about five years now, which as an American can be a rather losing endeavor. Kickboxing in the United States hasn't had a fair shake in a very long time, with the rise of the UFC in the mid-90's decimating whatever was left of Kickboxing and made Mixed Martial Arts the new attraction. This meant that all of the new, up-and-coming talent moved to the new world of MMA where there was money to be made.

Kickboxing and America have a rather sordid history, as at one time America gave Kickboxing a chance and it never really caught on like it should have. Part of the problem came from the confusing rules and just how different it was from everything else. Many were talking about last night as if it were the first time on a major American television network that Kickboxing programming had aired, but that is just not true at all. Kickboxing appeared network television in the 70's, as PKA had deals with ESPN in the 80's while also making brief appearances on CBS. This continued until around 1986 or so when the PKA, like any other big Kickboxing organization, was brought down by rumored criminal ties and for being run poorly.

This is Kickboxing's plight.

Last night was Kickboxing's first real chance in America in almost 30 years, only this time things were different. There were no foot guards, no long pants, the rules are based on the modified Muay Thai and Kyokushin rules that K-1 made famous in the 90's. Of course, GLORY has a few modifications to their rules which sets them apart, including a flash knockdown rule that fans and fighters can't seem to wrap their heads around (or even know it exists!). The product that GLORY presents is big on showmanship and provides high octane action.

For many Kickboxing purists, GLORY 11 wasn't the greatest show ever, as Heavyweight is one of the most maligned classes for the hardcores, but from a pure entertainment value it was unbeatable. GLORY had to hit a home run in their Spike TV debut, which is exactly what they did. There were definitely some kinks to work out in the production, but it was a professional presentation that made other Spike TV programs, like Bellator, look that much worse. Absolutely every fight on the broadcast delivered and it was fitting that a new star was born in Rico Verhoeven.

While the ratings for this show will give us an idea of who was willing to try Kickboxing on for size, all signs tend to be pointing towards GLORY 12 pulling in bigger numbers and attracting more and more fans. The live reactions from last night all throughout social media should be telling enough, as everyone who watched GLORY 11 walked away satisfied and exciting about the sport of Kickboxing, which is all that this peddler of an obscure sport could ask for.


UPDATE: GLORY 14 Zagreb Ratings on Spike TV

  • Published in Glory


GLORY 14 Zagreb this weekend was an awesome show for all that tuned in, Kickboxing fans old and new. A hot topic since GLORY has gotten onto Spike TV has been television ratings, as TV ratings determine how many viewers were watching and heavily influence the television network's decisions for the product moving forward. GLORY 13 saw a rating of 659,000 viewers, which was not only an increase, but a steady increase that showed that GLORY was here to stay. Saturday night's GLORY 14 delivered even more viewers than that.

According to reports, GLORY 14 Zagreb pulled in 851,000 viewers on average, which is another almost 200,000 viewer increase from GLORY 13. If Spike TV were to still have their doubts about GLORY and the Kickboxing product as a whole, GLORY 14 pulled in comparable ratings to Bellator 110, which featured Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and King Mo Lawal. Considering that some of the criticism towards GLORY has been not having ratings on the level of Bellator, this is a great step in the right direction and I wouldn't be surprised if we saw GLORY eclipse Bellator in the ratings in short order.

It is an exciting time to be a Kickboxing fan.

UPDATE: Interestingly enough, a blog dedicated to Nielson ratings got it wrong on this one. They didn't pick up 200,000 viewers, they shed 200,000 viewers. GLORY 14 Zagreb, after a three month absence on Spike TV, on tape delay going head-to-head with a Canelo Alvarez PPV got an average of 495,000 viewers with a peak of 588,000. No, those aren't the original, over-the-moon ratings reported, but they still aren't bad. Still around your average Bellator territory, honestly.


Why Giorgio Petrosyan on Free Television is Must-See

  • Published in News


There is a term that fans in the combat sports community tend to throw around a lot, to the point where the meaning has become dubious at best. That term is GOAT. If you are somehow blissfully unaware, GOAT stands for “Greatest of All Time.” In a lot of cases, it is difficult to use such a term as, well, let’s be honest here, most of these fighters haven’t been competing for long enough to really get a beat on where they’ll stand in the Pantheon of Combat Sports. This preface is to explain how the term shouldn’t be taken lightly just so I can really explain to you how important it is to be able to use this label for Giorgio Petrosyan without any sense of irony.

Giorgio Petrosyan is other-wordly. There is just no doubt about it, when you are watching Giorgio Petrosyan you are watching the most skilled Kickboxer that we’ve ever seen in the sport’s rich history. Petrosyan earned the nickname “The Doctor” for his surgical-like precision with his hands and feet, with his ability to take little-to-no damage against some of the best strikers in the world while slipping strikes and landing them from every angle imaginable. In fact, the only knock on Petrosyan seems to be his proclivity to break his left hand, which has led to Knockouts becoming more and more scarce for him.

The fact that on Saturday evening American audiences will be treated with seeing Giorgio Petrosyan fighting (possibly twice) on free television seems to be lost on many with the leadup into GLORY 12 New York. Sure, there are a lot of great names on the card and a lot of great fighters featured, but none have accomplished the things that Giorgio Petrosyan has. Giorgio Petrosyan holds two K-1 World MAX Championships as well as last year’s GLORY 70kg Slam Championship with many believing that this year will be yet another 70kg tournament victory for him.

I’m under no illusion of Giorgio Petrosyan becoming a huge draw in the United States or that American fans are going to tune in by the millions this weekend to watch the best pound-for-pound fighter -- potentially in all combat sports -- compete and make the best in the world look like frustrated amateurs, but the hope is that maybe, just maybe a few new fans will see the technical master that is Giorgio Petrosyan and fall in love with the sport in a whole new way.


The GLORY 12 Preview

  • Published in News


GLORY 12 New York is tomorrow, live on Spike TV at 9PM Eastern featuring a one-night, four-man Lightweight tournament as well as a main event showdown between Joe Schilling and Wayne Barrett. This is GLORY’s second outing on Spike TV, which makes it a pretty big deal, this also means that you should be tuning in without doubt or question, as the best in the world, Giorgio Petrosyan, is going to be live on free television.

This, my friends, is our breakdown of the card from top-to-bottom with predictions included.


  • Lightweight Semi-Finals: Robin van Roosmalen vs. Davit Kiria -- This is going to be an incredibly exciting war between two of the world’s finest Lightweights. Davit Kiria is a guy who came from relative obscurity, given a chance due to training with Dave Jonkers and Semmy Schilt on early GLORY events before they realized that they had something special. These two fought back in 2011 while Robin van Roosmalen was on the rise, with Kiria’s technical style neutralizing RvR’s go-for-broke brawling style. Kiria has grown a lot as a fighter since this last fight and I feel like both men are going to look to put on a show. Kiria’s win over Murthel Groenhart shows how capable he is at handling aggressive fighters now, I think that he shocks fans with a win.
  • Prediction: Davit Kiria
  • Lightweight Semi-Finals: Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Andy Ristie -- Poor Andy Ristie. Ristie has been a star on the rise in the last few years, with his exciting style and his affable personality making him a fan favorite. Since stepping up in competition though, the fireworks have been halted for Ristie a bit, as he’s had problems running through the competition like he was known for before. Giorgio Petrosyan is his stylistic nightmare and outside of a cut or Petrosyan breaking his hand and being unable to continue, I think we all know Petrosyan walks away with the W.
  • Prediction: Giorgio Petrosyan
  • Lightweight Tournament Reserve Bout: Warren Stevelmans vs. Ky Hollenbeck -- After a bit of reshuffling we end up with this fight as the tournament reserve and honestly, Ky Hollenbeck deserves this spot. Hollenbeck is one of the few Americans who has made a big statement of late and has shown to have the skill and determination to be a player in the elite field. Warren Stevelmans is nothing to scoff at as a fighter, but I feel like Ky is on a roll right now. Man, whatever happened to Sanny Dahlbeck?
  • Prediction: Ky Hollenbeck
  • Jamal Ben Saddik vs. Ben Edwards -- A clash of the titans! A Heavyweight showdown between two burly guys! I’m mildly excited about the debut of Big Ben, who has really helped to refine his style over the past few years and has been showing a lot more in the way of technical chops. Jamal Ben Saddik is also a big dude with a lot of power, but I’m not sure how to really feel about him in the grand scheme of things at Heavyweight. Is JBS going to be an elite fighter, or is he just a guy who got a few good wins and will be a gatekeeper? This fight helps to determine this.
  • Prediction: Ben Edwards
  • Joe Schilling vs. Wayne Barrett -- It’s East Coast vs. West Coast in the battle of Middleweights. Joe Schilling has long been one of the biggest names in America for Kickboxing and Muay Thai and his huge win at GLORY 10 in the Middleweight tournament has shown that he had a lot of people talking about him for good reason. Wayne Barrett is a young hot shot who has had a few fights as a professional Kickboxer with them mostly being absolute annihilations of his skilled opponents. The thing is, his youth and inexperience run into Joe Schilling, who has fought all over the world and not only fought, but beaten the best at Middleweight. I think it seems like a forgone conclusion that someone is taking a nap, but whomever it is will probably not feel too much shame in the morning.
  • Prediction: Joe Schilling
  • Lightweight Tournament Finals: Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Davit Kiria -- I’m really most interested in seeing this rematch as opposed to any other possible Petrosyan match that could happen. Want to know why? I feel like Robin van Roosmalen is extremely skilled and can hit like a mack truck for the weight class, but that a fighter like Giorgio Petrosyan will not let his guard down long enough to let him do any work. A fighter like Kiria on the other hand has evolved his game a little bit to where it would be more of a chess match, plus Kiria is a bit less predictable with throwing the big spin kicks and all. I still pick Petrosyan in this one, but think that Kiria could show something new.
  • Prediction: Giorgio Petrosyan



GLORY CEO Talks About Preparing for a Bright Future with GLORY 23 and Dynamite on the Horizon

  • Published in Interviews

James Law/GLORY

GLORY’s next event is August 7th in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Las Vegas is known for being one of the fight capitals of the world and GLORY will finally make their debut there in the historic Hard Rock. The main event of the show is a GLORY Welterweight Championship bout between Nieky Holzken and Raymond Daniels, two men that have fought before and will meet for the newly-vacated championship. 

In a way, Daniels vs. Holzken is a perfect way to sum up GLORY as an organization at the moment. GLORY began with a bang, pushing out nothing but star-studded cards with fights between top names from K-1 and It’s Showtime, but things have changed quite a bit since then. Some would say the changes were unwelcome, while others would argue that the health of the organization and the sport in particular should come before glitz and glamour. Chief among them would be GLORY’s CEO Jon J. Franklin.

Franklin was involved with GLORY previously, but his role was in assisting them with television rights deals and not running the entire organization. After some reshuffling after GLORY Last Man Standing failed to deliver in PPV sales last year Franklin was placed into the unenviable position of the CEO of GLORY and basically just told, “fix it.” GLORY started off big, just as big as the shows it was replacing from Japan, but the problem was there was really no market for it anymore and the shows, while impressive, helped the organization to bleed money for the first few years. 

“You know,” Franklin explained to me when talking about the difficulties of taking over. “First thing I thought was that I was going to come in and trim the fat. Just come in and cut out everything that we didn’t need, make the whole operation leaner, more profitable and to ensure that we’ll still be running shows down the line. You can’t just cut everything, though, which I learned the hard way early on. There are contracts in place and if you don’t honor those contracts things can get messy in a hurry, even if those contracts were expensive for us at the time.”

That included some of the older, bigger name fighters who have now mostly retired or moved on to what they consider greener pastures for the time being. There was a marked change in direction for the organization after Franklin joined, which he is willing to admit wasn’t always perfect, but has been adjusted with some fine tuning. “Was the Oklahoma show maybe a bit of a stretch for us? Probably, in hindsight, yeah. That might have been a bit too far in the other direction, but if you look back at our recent shows I think that we’ve really found the right mix for us that keeps the fans in the arena happy and is enjoyable to viewers.”

Part of the change was removing some of the more costly aspects of the production, which meant cutting back on production staff that were attending events and even scaling back on travel expenses. “As cool as the ramp was to have, it was an expense and due to how tight our shows are on Spike TV, you’d never really see them anyway. On top of that, most of our more memorable entrances were fighters interacting with the crowd more, like Gokhan Saki at GLORY 15 Istanbul.” 

As for the travel? “I travel coach now, which a few of the older guys were kind of shocked by. ‘How does it look that our CEO is traveling coach?’ They asked me, just not understanding it, still worried about image. I think that it shows that we are very serious about our organization and for its longevity that we aren’t spending frivolously or concerned about things like that. I don’t mind doing it and I believe that it sets a good example for everyone else.”

In a way, Nieky Holzken vs. Raymond Daniels is the perfect GLORY title fight under Jon J. Franklin’s leadership, especially in the Hard Rock, a venue that as a boxing promoter he had worked to put on shows numerous times in the past. Holzken is one of the most renowned and revered kickboxers in the world while Raymond Daniels is an American fighter who might not have the same level of credentials as a professional that Holzken does, but has worked tirelessly to transfer his skills in karate to the sport of kickboxing. His work has resulted in some of GLORY’s most spectacular knockouts and for Daniels becoming one of the more viral and notable stars for the organization. 

“He’s incredible,” he said about Daniels. “I think that showcasing a fighter like Daniels helps to set us apart and really stand out. Nieky is an incredible boxer and Daniels is an incredible athlete who does things that nobody else does inside of the ring. The two-touch kicks, spinning back kicks, just everything that he does takes your breath away and leaves an impression.”

Many older fans see the fight between Daniels and Holzken as a forgone conclusion, but Franklin isn’t worried about a loss for either man hurting their image, instead noting that fighters with heart and personality tend to stand out. “I know that I’ll take some flak for this, but how can you not love a fighter like Dustin Jacoby? He’s still learning the ropes in our sport, but he entered the Road 2 Glory tournament on a day’s notice and won the whole thing, he fought Mourad Bouzidi on short notice and in Bellator stepped into the cage against King Mo on short notice. The guy is a fighter and he’s exciting to watch. I don’t think that losses define a fighter at all and I think that fans have certain connections with fighters and that doesn’t just fade away after a loss or two.”

GLORY is, of course, involved with the big Dynamite event in September that will showcase Bellator fights in a cage and GLORY fights inside of the GLORY ring. The event was in the works for quite a while and Franklin talks about how pleased he has been in the whole process. “How can you not like working with Scott Coker? I’d say he’s one of the top promoters in the world. He’s been a pleasure to work with and we are looking forward to putting on a great show. I mean, Bellator has an amazing platform that they’ve grown since Scott came in and we get to be a part of that with Dynamite.”

The inclusion of GLORY seems almost academic considering the caliber of events that they’ve produced in their short tenure and how Franklin and crew have been able to work miracles out in the previous few events with their reduced budget. Franklin does credit the fighters for sticking with them through the transition, as well. “What people don’t realize is that 95% of our fighters stuck with us through lean times. That is incredible, they really believe in what we are doing and believe that this is where they belong. Look at guys like Errol Zimmerman or Rico Verhoeven who stuck with us through everything and are just excited to get out there and fight.”

The card isn’t settled yet for Dynamite, but GLORY has promised to bring their A-game for this. There was talk of the event possibly happening without GLORY’s assistance, but the reality here is that GLORY’s stable of fighters are some of the very best in the world. The Dynamite event is a huge stage for kickboxing in general and GLORY has top talent in healthy supply to wow both old and new fans alike. It also speaks further for the health of the relationship with Spike TV, which Franklin feels strongly about.

“I was just out there at the Bellator show and I walked away from my meetings with Scott and everyone at Spike TV feeling very positive about it,” he explained. “We have a longterm deal with Spike with extension options and everyone who see GLORY programming feels strongly about it. Could the landscape change in the future, could our relationship change? It could, but that is the nature of television. We aren’t concerned, though, we have a healthy relationship and a lot more shows that we are planning right now.”

The market is ever-changing for combat sports but what is clear is that GLORY is in this for the long haul and is looking to help to grow the sport worldwide as well as the United States. While Spike TV is usually the hot topic, Franklin made sure to mention that they don’t plan on abandoning their international markets any time soon. They have healthy television relationships all throughout Europe and Asia and he notes how it is easier to fill up arenas throughout Europe with their top talent, like in Lille, France where Rico Verhoeven defended his GLORY Heavyweight Championship against Benjamin Adegbuyi.

In a way, it is refreshing to speak with Franklin and to hear him be so candid about the past and future of the organization. They are very aware of their product and aware of any possible missteps that may have happened in the past and are always looking for ways to provide quality entertainment to all of their fans across the world, all while spending responsibility and ensuring that the company has a bright future. Because, as Franklin told me, having less opportunities for fighters to work and make money is good for no one, so all of the fighters are invested in the future of both the sport and the organization.

GLORY 23 is Friday, August 7th live on Spike TV from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.


Bellator Announces Dynamite!! September 19th in San Jose with GLORY Participation

  • Published in Glory

Yesterday there was a spark of this potentially huge event happening in September featuring Spike TV's premier combat sports brands of Bellator and GLORY. While there was some trepidation throughout the industry everything fell into place and today Bellator announced that Dynamite!! will happen on September 19th in San Jose at the SAP Center. GLORY's participation in the event will be a three-fight offering featuring fights from Joe Schilling, Paul Daley and more to be announced.

It will be interesting to have the Bellator cage set up in the arena as well as an area for a kickboxing ring as well, with Spike TV looking to present what should be their biggest combat sports card to date. In addition to the three-fight GLORY card there will be a lot of big stuff from Bellator, including a Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship bout between champion Liam McGeary and UFC legend Tito Ortiz. In addition there will be a one-night tournament at Light Heavyweight featuring King Mo Lawal, Phil Davis, Linton Vassal and Emanuel Newton, the winner challenging the winner of McGeary and Ortiz at a later event.

This should be a big deal for both MMA fans and kickboxing fans alike and is a very good thing for GLORY to be associated with Bellator like this. While Dynamite!! was a Japanese tradition that blended together DREAM and K-1, it will be interesting to see what a night of "Dynamite" featuring Bellator and GLORY can be.


Check Out These Post-Fight Interviews with Rico Verhoeven and Tyrone Spong

  • Published in Glory


We are all still coming down from this past weekend's GLORY 11 on Spike TV. I mean, that was just a monumental event by every stretch of the imagination. There were some really big winners at GLORY 11, two of which were Rico Verhoeven and Tyrone Spong, who got to be the stars of the show on Spike TV and could have just cemented themselves as huge Kickboxing stars here in the United States. GLORY has put up video interviews catching up with them after their respective wins and both guys seem pretty pleased, as they should be.

Read more... Talks GLORY 11 with Tyrone Spong

  • Published in Interviews


Tyrone Spong is a name that has jumped up in value over the past few years after cutting his teeth on the international muay thai and kickboxing circuit in a dizzying amount of weight classes. Spong has fought not only some of the best in the world in one or two weight classes, but in just about every weight class between 70kg and Super Heavyweight in the span of his career, with one fight against Nathan “Carnage” Corbett standing out as the one that fans wanted to see happen again. GLORY is making precisely this happen at GLORY 11 Chicago this weekend, live on Spike TV. caught up with Tyrone Spong earlier this week to discuss the fight with Carnage and he has a very mature way of viewing the first bout with Carnage, when asked if he considers it a draw or a loss; “Oh no, no man, for me personally it’s a loss. You know, according to the rules and the commission they call it a no contest. That’s not on me, you know, I don’t make the rules, I just fight according to them. To me personally though, I consider that a loss and now I have the chance to avenge that loss, so we’ll see.”


A Lament for GLORY on Spike TV

  • Published in Glory

Some relationships were never meant to be.

GLORY and Spike TV is a perfect example of that. Spike TV’s decision to enter the kickboxing business dates back to before the GLORY deal, with them announcing in August of 2012 that they had come to a deal with K-1 Global to air their events in the United States. While we could write a whole hell of a lot about the failings and shortcomings of K-1 Global, they saw the writing on the wall when it came to Spike TV and pulled out of the deal after just streaming one event on their website with very little support.

By this point GLORY had officially transitioned from United Glory events run by Golden Glory officials largely as a showcase for fighters who they managed and trained to being folded into the new organization called GLORY Sports International. GLORY eventually scooped up It’s Showtime, along with the host of fighters under contract with them and by mid-2000 had begun to hit their stride as one of the premier kickboxing organizations in the world.

Spike was still hungry for kickboxing content, though, especially after they lost the rights to air UFC events exclusively.

By mid-2013 GLORY was well on its way to overtaking the former juggernaut that was K-1, with K-1 Global running less and less events, conceding to GLORY’s overtaking over the market. GLORY had its eyes on the American audiences and by the summer of 2013 were in talks with Spike TV. This, at the time, felt like the beginning of something big. For those of us on the inside in the sport it was clear that K-1 Global was not prepared to run events on American TV at the time, but GLORY seemed to have their ducks in a row when it came to production. An early working relationship with current CEO Jon J. Franklin opened up doors in television to get GLORY into conversations and by the time that we were all watching GLORY 10 on an internet stream we were doing so with the knowledge that GLORY 11 would be on American television.

Kickboxing’s return to American television felt like a big deal. HDnet (now AXS TV) had been airing K-1 events as of 2008, but their reach at the time was still not immense and didn’t reach beyond the core fans. HDnet/AXS’s handling of the sport was with respect and care, their broadcast teams working closely with K-1 in Japan to make everything seamless. That was the level of excellence that kickboxing on television in America would be held to, but only now it would be broadcast out to a much wider audience on a network like Spike TV. Spike TV was famous for being the network that was there when UFC finally became big.

The broadcasts would never reach that level of polish, though. Instead there was just a struggle.

If even a little bit of that “magic” could wear off on the sport of kickboxing it could finally take off. After covering the death of FEG, which included fighters publicly decrying the organization and demanding pay being the only kickboxing news stories that mainstream MMA sites had picked up in years, this felt like a win for the sport. Kickboxing needed this win badly and it felt like things had turned around with this deal. Part of what made K-1 thrive in Japan was its partnership with Fujii TV, who set aside a budget in the realm of $1 million per show (or more depending on the show), allowing for those huge, legendary events to happen.

At the time inside reports from GLORY had their shows losing money with each show, anywhere from the realm of $100,000 for smaller events to upwards of $500,000 to even $1m for big events. What was clear was that for kickboxing to exist on the level that we all knew it, the sport needed an advocate. Early GLORY was largely in part to healthy investments from Pierre Andurand, Ivan Farneti, Marcus Luer and Scott Rudmann who made up the core ownership of the promotion early on through various agreements and companies, but it was unrealistic to expect individuals to keep pouring money into a venture without any return. The Spike TV deal would hopefully open up the American market to GLORY and bring in more possible investors and sponsors. It did. There have been multiple investments and capital injections since the Spike TV deal, but everything all said it wasn’t enough.

Spike TV Simply Wasn’t the Network.

I vividly remember the night that GLORY 11 aired on Spike TV. For me, personally, I had taken a giant gamble back in 2009 when faced with pursuing a career writing about MMA I instead chose to veer off onto a path that included the more rough-and-tumble sport of kickboxing. At the time kickboxing was an afterthought, an exotic Japanese import that only the diehard “PRIDE NEVER DIE” fans were watching in the wee hours of the morning. Major MMA outlets were amplifying their coverage of major grappling events, but kickboxing shows were mentioned in passing or in a diminutive manner. I saw an opportunity to help the sport that I loved to be more accessible beyond trawling through message boards and blogs of varying languages for news. I was already doing this for myself, why not post about it for everyone?

Fraser Coffeen and myself ventured off onto this path and since then there have been many bumps in the road, such as Fraser having to make a tough decision in early 2011 to depart the site for the greener pastures of MMA after kickboxing looked to be on life support. The journey as a whole had twists and turns, from an MMA site we helped to co-found to a WordPress site dedicated to K-1 to an offer from SBNation to join their network, to leaving that network for the great unknown. All that culminated with GLORY 11, though. The gamble was looking to finally pay off; kickboxing was going to be reaching a broader audience.

The excitement that night was palpable. I still felt that GLORY 10 was the show that should have been live on Spike TV for their debut, that show featuring Joe Schilling winning the Middleweight tournament in heroic fashion, an American champion on a worldwide stage after years without, but you can’t win them all. Instead Rico Verhoeven’s coronation was the beginning of the relationship on Spike TV, which was hard to complain about. The event had a few minor hitches, but it still felt like a success. The ratings came in and they weren’t great, but they weren’t bad, either. There looked to be hope.

Rumors of the network’s pay being paltry started to swirl around almost immediately, with there already being skeptics that Spike TV wasn’t going to be the right fit for the promotion or the sport. Viacom, upon losing UFC, looked to immediately replace the newly-created gap by purchasing a controlling stake into Bellator MMA, which led many to believe that an independently owned and operated promotion like GLORY would see many hurdles in dealing with the network. Why promote the brand that they don’t own when they already had one combat sports league that was struggling? When the ratings didn’t skyrocket fears started to build that Spike TV might sour on GLORY.

Somewhere along the line the decision was made to “test the waters” on PPV for GLORY, with the promotion pouring money and effort into the GLORY 17 event to air on Spike with GLORY Last Man Standing to air on PPV immediately afterwards. The event was billed as their biggest show ever, but many feeling that GLORY’s attempt to make it onto PPV was far too early for the young organization, especially with only six months of being on American television without drastically increased ratings. Were American audiences ready to plonk down their hard earned money to watch GLORY’s biggest show ever? The answer was an emphatic no with Dave Meltzer reporting the numbers as 5,000 or less. GLORY officials confirmed it, claiming international buys more than doubled that number, but the damage was still done.

A long absence followed while the company decided on where to go next. What followed was a management shake-up and some restructuring, with Jon J. Franklin assuming the company’s helm and shows having a leaner budget all-around. Rumors started to circulate about top fighters departing due to contract disputes and fan opinion online had shifted from favorable to them looking for other promotions to pledge support to, like the Dubai-based GFC featuring Badr Hari. When GLORY relaunched it was with much leaner shows, lacking the big screens and jam-packed cards with an increased concern with the budget.

The ratings followed suit, fluctuating wildly as tensions rose between Spike TV and GLORY in the background. GLORY events changed from Saturdays to Fridays to accommodate for Spike’s new marketing of “Friday Night Lights Out” and their time slot never quite felt set in stone. Start times varied wildly and if you were a fan looking to watch kickboxing the distinct lack of marketing of the events on the network and elsewhere didn’t help to solidify when they’d actually air. Critical mass was reached when the decision came down that GLORY 22 would be aired live on Spike TV at 4pm in the afternoon but not replayed later on.

The decision seemed insane to many, with 4pm on a Friday being possibly the worst time to air an event. The results on previous tape-delayed events were mixed, at best. GLORY 13 in Tokyo pulled in strong ratings for the Welterweight tournament and Peter Aerts vs. Rico Verhoeven, while GLORY 15 featuring the Light Heavyweight tournament with Tyrone Spong vs. Gokhan Saki in the finals pulled in poor ratings after Spong’s leg break went viral, thus spoiling the result of one of the most-hyped tournaments in the company’s history. GLORY 22 live at 4pm felt like one of the final nails in the coffin for the relationship.

Sources on both sides were unhappy with the deal and fingers were pointed wherever they could be to help shift blame. Around this time there were whispers of Scott Coker looking to run his own kickboxing events on Spike TV. Things were in an embryonic state at that point, but the rumor was interesting, considering GLORY was Spike’s kickboxing show and to the best of everyone’s knowledge still had a contract with the network. The month of “October” kept coming up in conversations, with many believing that October would be the end of the arrangement for good, although it wasn’t clear where the organization would go from there.

Then Dynamite was announced, with Ariel Helwani breaking the news that there would be a “co-promoted” event between Bellator and GLORY on Spike TV. For those of us in kickboxing, though, that didn’t make much sense, especially after the debacle that was GLORY 22 and the relationship turning quite toxic. The more that I and others interacted with Bellator PR about the event, the more we were softly corrected on calling it a co-promotion. No, it was Bellator MMA Dynamite 1, not Bellator/GLORY Dynamite 1. Joe Schilling, while promoting his next Bellator fight and asked about the show was quick to claim that GLORY wasn’t invited, that they were crashing the party and had bought their way onto the event at last minute.

We were assured, at the time, that GLORY was happy to be working with Bellator and vice versa. In line with that we were told that it wouldn’t make sense for Spike TV to not use their official kickboxing show on an event like Dynamite, so of course GLORY was in the conversation from the start. While logical, things still felt off. The talk was that GLORY had their backs to the wall in regards to that event and when you analyze the matchmaking it was clear that GLORY had very little input as to what they could and couldn’t get on television for that show. Two of the three fights that aired under “GLORY rules” were with fighters contracted through Bellator with no relation to GLORY at all.

MMA fans that night made it very clear that GLORY had “blown it” all over social media, that they were given a chance to shine on a big Bellator event and had, for some strange reason, opted to book fights like Gilbert Melendez’s wife vs. some girl and Paul Daley vs. some Bellator guy. You know, because GLORY would totally use an opportunity like that to showcase Bellator fighters as opposed to their own, right? The one fight that GLORY was able to sneak onto television was the GLORY Light Heavyweight Championship bout between Zack Mwekassa and Saulo Cavalari, which failed to deliver the fireworks that everyone was hoping for, but still put on a solid display.

It was simply too little, too late.

By the time that GLORY 24 had rolled around it was incredibly clear that GLORY and Spike were through. Any talk of GLORY 25 did not include any discussion about where it would be airing and the promotional materials for GLORY 25 and 26 did not include mention of Spike TV at all. Both events were also mentioned more than a few weeks in advance of the show and fight cards were announced further in advance than we had ever seen on Spike TV. There was also a distinctive lack of B-string Bellator fighters on the lineups.

Jon J. Franklin, when prompted by Michael Stets of MMAMania on GLORY’s future in television, said that they would be announcing their new home on television when they were able to and that GLORY 25 would air on American television. That seemed like as good of a public acknowledgement of the deal being done as possible without just saying it in plain English. I’ve been asked why this wasn’t publicly discussed or the story “broken” before and the answer is quite simple; this is the world of television. Even if the relationship was not a strong one, Spike announcing in advance that they had “canceled” GLORY while GLORY was shopping for a new television deal could have led to panic and potentially stalling out discussions with other networks.

This closely mimics what happened between Spike TV and their former professional wrestling partner, TNA Wrestling. TNA’s ratings had been steadily decreasing and advertisers had been opting out of advertising during TNA programming. Spike decided to drop TNA and Dave Meltzer broke the news, leading to Spike’s silence and TNA publicly scrambling and inserting their foot into their mouth at every possible turn before turning up on Destination America where the same exact thing happened after a brief period of time.

I’m not willing to exclusively point fingers at Spike TV for GLORY’s shortcomings on the network because it takes two to tango. Decisions were made on both sides that were detrimental to the sport and the organization, leading to the relationship deteriorating to the point where it no longer exists. GLORY’s long absences from the airwaves for European-style vacations, inability to keep talent happy and eagerness to do anything to appeal to American audiences all helped to lead to where we are today, but Spike’s insistence on changing times, days, being inflexible and insistent on having some level of control over the content of the shows can easily be pointed to as reasons for the failure as well.

Whatever the reasons, that relationship has now come to a close, leaving Spike without kickboxing programming and GLORY without a television deal. Various sources have been telling us that GLORY has either secured a new deal or is in the process of doing so, but that it most likely won’t be in time for GLORY 25. Wherever they do land here’s to hoping that the relationship is more of a partnership and is better for the sport of kickboxing because, realistically, kickboxing deserves better. It deserves a whole lot better than this.

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