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Badr Hari Wins Big in Dubai, Aerts and Cooper Draw

Today in Dubai Badr Hari competed in the Global FC 3 Heavyweight Kickboxing tournament in a field that saw Hari, Leko, Oborotov and Graham, making for an interesting blend of old talent and new talent. The big news is that Badr Hari walked away from Global FC 3 with a new belt and some more money in his pocket after he was able to knock out both opponents in short order. First up was Stefan Leko, a guy who used to be one of the world's elite and is now competing beyond his means, to the extent where I almost refuse to watch him fight anymore.

Leko almost had nothing to offer Hari, almost being put down immediately in the first round. He fought back to his feet, though, only to be dropped again and for the referee to stop the bout. Badr Hari's second fight of the evening saw him meeting an old foe in Peter Graham. The two had traded wins over seven years ago, but time was not kind to Peter Graham who found himself knocked down twice in round one as well and Badr Hari having a relatively easy night.

On the other side of the spectrum, Peter Aerts tore his hamstring against Dewey Cooper and both men had a clinch-heavy fight that saw the judges render it a draw. Tough break for Peter Aerts, but it might be time for him to consider spending time with his family, his gym and wrestling more in Japan.

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Japan's Kickboxing Scene Reunites Under the K-1 World League Banner

K-1 began in Japan, becoming the world standard for professional Kickboxing and the name, to this day, holds the most weight when it comes to Kickboxing. Of course, mismanagement and corruption led to the demise of FEG, who held the K-1 name at the time. Since then K-1 Global has taken over the K-1 name and have been working their way towards their own goals that exist outside of Japan. So consider the shock today when news comes out of Japan of a new promotion called K-1 World League using the K-1 logo and everything. 

There was a press conference in Japan today to announce the formation of K-1 World League, which will be managed by Good Loser, the company that produces KRUSH events in Japan, and produced by M-1 Sports Media. The first event is set to take place on July 21st at Shinjuku FACE and will be an amateur tournament akin to K-1 Koshien, the finals being held on November 3rd at Yoyogi National Stadium along with professional fights from some of Japan's top fighters. Announced names are Yuta Kubo, Yoshihiro Sato, Yasuhiro Kido, Hirotaka Urabe, Koya Urabe, HIROYA, Takeru and others. Takayuki Kohiruimaki is also listed as one of the K-1 Gym's official trainers, as this whole thing is in association with the K-1 Gym.

K-1 Global will continue to run events outside of Japan and K-1 World League will serve as K-1's re-entry point into the Japanese market beginning this year.

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Andy Hug, The Freebirds and the Von Erichs: What Kickboxing is Missing Right Now

I want you to visualize what is one of the most iconic knockouts in the history of Kickboxing. Visualize Andy Hug landing that spinning back kick on Mike Bernardo’s knee in the K-1 World Grand Prix 1996 Finals and the gravity that came from that kick. It was a tremendous story; Andy Hug, the undersized fighter who had lost to Bernardo twice before had finally overcome the odds when everything was on the line. It was hard to not feel something from that knockout. 

The concept of sport at its best and most effective is when there is an emotional bond between the athlete and the spectator. Without a doubt there is a magical spark that happens when an athlete achieves a lifelong dream while a spectator, one that is emotionally invested in the athlete, watches on and cheers. In part it is due to living out a fantasy vicariously through the athlete; being able to see someone achieve their dream, to, if even for just a brief moment, be able to see someone reach those great heights that always seem out of reach. 

In combat sports, which are about the individual and not a team, the ultimate goal is usually to win a World Championship. It’s a story that writes itself, a story about climbing to the top of the mountain and becoming the best, then defending that title and continuing to be the best. When the fans have an emotional investment in the fighter it is just amplified and the journey is all-the-more satisfying.

It’s these things that make combat sports the most fulfilling ones to spectate in the world, but it is also what makes them so inherently frustrating to be a fan of. Conventional wisdom points towards acquiring the most talent, to toss them into the ring against each other and hope that not only a World Champion emerges, but that a star will be born as well. The problem with this is that the more names that are involved, the more individuals with their own stories, personalities, strengths and weaknesses are in play and after a while they begin to get lost in the shuffle.

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GFC 3 Featuring Badr Hari Internet PPV for $5

So Badr Hari will be fighting in just a matter of hours now (10:00am Eastern time) and yeah, we know, if you live in the United States there is absolutely nothing convenient about the timing for this event. It's early morning on a Thursday, not exactly the same thing as staying up for a K-1 or PRIDE event on the weekends like everyone was used to years ago by a long shot. That being said, if you can do it (or live in Europe), you'll only have to plonk down $5 USD to watch GFC 3 featuring Badr Hari, Peter Aerts, Peter Graham and Stefan Leko. 

It's building up to be an interesting show, at least. $5 for an internet PPV (which most of you hate anyway) isn't bad by a longshot. So check it out here. We'll have a full rundown of the event later on in the day.

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