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Re-Evaluating the K-1 and Glory Split

K-1/Glory

I think it is time to start looking, critically, at the Kickboxing world and where it is right now. We’ve seen that both Glory and K-1 are capable on their own of producing an entertaining, professional event with solid matchmaking. This is vital for either promotion, regardless of the name fighters involved in either promotion. Glory held their “First 16” for the 70kg class in May, while K-1, with the assist from It’s Showtime, held a coming out party event before It’s Showtime packed up and sold to Glory. This weekend, K-1 finally put on their first event, sans-It’s Showtime, and for a K-1 USA show it demonstrated exactly what this K-1 is capable of doing in the future.

Basically, we’ve reached a point to where both companies have established their brand identities, shown the world what they are going to present, and how they are going to present it. Initially, the idea of a split Kickboxing world, with the talent not being able to fight each other, with derogatory, inflammatory press releases flying out and accusations being made left and right, things looked grim. What went down earlier this summer was essentially terrible for the already hurting sport of Kickboxing. I’m not going to point fingers or name names, but if you’ve been following the sport -- or even involved in it -- you know what I’m referring to and what I’m talking about. We at LiverKick saw traffic drop off, saw fans lose interest and care less about who came out on top. They wanted fights, they wanted announced fight cards, they didn’t want to see people in the sport trying to handicap each other.

Cooler heads have prevailed and it seems like the battles will remain in the ring, with both sides having their talent signed and booked to fights in the future. The only downside is that some of the bigger, more hotly-anticipated fights might not happen immediately, but as was demonstrated this weekend by K-1, there are currently two big Kickboxing promotions able to produce entertaining and professional events that Kickboxing fans deserve. The split right now reminds me of around 2004 when UFC was pushing forward on national cable in the United States and was doing so while the consensus of the diehard fans on the internet was that PRIDE in Japan had a majority of the top talent in most weight classes. You’ll hear a lot of the same talk of K-1 right now, with Glory having most of the top talent and K-1 having whatever is left over. Much like with UFC, I predict that over time we’ll see talent cultivated in K-1 and they’ll build their own stars.

I’m not sure who will win the battle -- if anyone -- but what I’m sure of is in the coming months there are numerous big Kickboxing events scheduled, and that after a “down” 2011 and a slow start to 2012, this year will be the year that Kickboxing re-emerges as a global spectator sport.


 

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Did You Miss K-1 in Los Angeles? We've Got You Covered. Watch Full Event Replay FREE

The K-1 World Grand Prix in Los Angeles went down on Saturday night, and there was a lot of speculation, hype and vitriol going around about it. What K-1 did was hold steady, go out and put on the best show possible for fans with the talent available. The production was as big as ever and what ensued was a genuinely entertaining card from top to bottom. If you were deterred by the $9.99 price tag or the fact that the stream was dropping in and out during the prelims and didn't buy it, well, you were out of luck. If you've been searching for the event the past few days, you were out of luck as well. But now? Nah. K-1 has gone ahead and put up the entire K-1 World Grand Prix in Los Angeles event on their UStream channel for free. So go ahead and watch it here on your favorite Kickboxing site (visit this link to view it on UStream).


Video streaming by Ustream

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K-1 World Grand Prix in Los Angeles Delivers and Looking Ahead

K-1

There were a lot of doubts leading into this Saturday’s K-1 World Grand Prix in Los Angeles show, and a lot of them seemed valid at the time. The arena selected was not only in a bad part of town in Los Angeles, but it was huge, seating 17,000 fans, which it seemed like there was no way they could hope to fill it. The fighters that were selected to fight on the card were either old and past their primes or young and incredibly unknown, to the extent where one of the main card fighters was making his debut against a seasoned veteran. All of this was compounded by the fact that K-1 Global had yet to put on a show of their own, with the May show being essentially an all It’s Showtime production crew.

Would anyone be there? Would anyone watch this? Would anyone care? Would the fights suck?

These questions were not only asked by fans, but you’d have to believe that they were coming up in the minds of those involved with K-1 as well over the past few months. Those months have been difficult ones, to say the least. In June, after their first show, their partner in It’s Showtime up and sold their company, along with management contracts of fighters, to rival promotion GLORY. This seemed like a death blow to them, with It’s Showtime’s Simon Rutz making a public statement calling K-1 Global’s Mr. Kim a liar and a thief, claiming that payment was never made to the fighters and promoters. It was bringing back the ghosts of K-1 past, where the big issue that brought them down was late payment to fighters and partners. In this case, the payments were made, albeit not within a certain timeframe, and it seemed like a big misunderstanding that turned into a war of words.

Then, to top it off, the one big star they had left -- the biggest one in the sport -- in Badr Hari is currently in prison and won’t be out anytime soon. Going into last night, they were taking a lot of risks, but worked hard to promote the event and the fighters that they did have. On top of that, they made sure to carefully match up fighters to make for exciting fights. A partnership with Romania’s SuperKombat and a new television deal with Spike TV seemed to help invigorate things, and when it came time for showtime last night, it felt like things were really coming together. The press events saw a decent and enthusiastic turnout and as the event unfolded last night, more and more people began filing into the arena.

Sure, there were issues with the stream, and it should have never been a PPV, but things can’t be perfect. With a good, solid crowd watching, a night of exciting fights unfolded and there might have even been a few new stars who were born at this event, with Damian Earley, Gabriel Varga and Jarrell Miller. Looking ahead, I think this event was very important for restoring faith in the K-1 brand and those in charge of the promotion. The K-1 Final 16 will see some of the names we know and love, and while it won’t feature them all, as long as the show is done properly, I’m not sure that it will really matter.

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