[DOUBLEPOST=1456465941][/DOUBLEPOST]Glory 28 Paris takes place Saturday, March 12. Already announced were three world title fights: Heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven vs. Mladen Brestovac, Light Heavyweight champion Saulo Cavalari vs. Artem Vakhitov, and Featherweightchampion Serhiy Adamchuk vs. Mosab Amrani. Now they have the full card set. Joining the Heavyweight title fight on the Glory 28 main card will be a 4 man Lightweighttournament featuring Sittichai Sitsongpeenong, Davit Kiria, Marat Grigorian, and Djime Coulibaly. Kiria is the former champion looking to get back in the race after some tough losses, while Sittichai is the 2015 Fighter of the Year, and in the eyes of many is the rightful Glory Lightweight champion. On the other side of the bracket, Grigorian is the K-1 champ, while Coulibaly brings in the local side.
On the Superfight Series, you have a ton of exciting fights including Freddy Kemayo vs. Xavier Vigney and Jason Wilnis vs. Filip Verlinden. The big addition to that card is Josh Jauncey vs. Anatoly Moiseev - a terrific can't miss fight between two hot up and coming prospects in the sport's deepest division.
Get the full Glory 28 fight card below.
Glory can next be seen this Friday, February 26 with Glory 27 Chicago headlined by Artem Levin vs. Simon Marcus III. Glory 27 is live on ESPN3, with the Superfight Series airing live on UFC Fight Pass.
GLORY 28 FIGHT CARD
Heavyweight Title: Rico Verhoeven vs. Mladen Brestovac
Murthel Groenhart vs. Cedric Doumbe
Semifinal: Sittichai vs. Davit Kiria
Semifinal: Marat Grigorian vs. Djime Coulibaly
Light Heavyweight Title: Saulo Cavalari vs. Artem Vakhitov
Featherweight Title: Serhiy Adamchuk vs. Mosab Amrani
Freddy Kemayo vs. Xavier Vigney
Josh Jauncey vs. Anatoly Moiseev
Jason Wilnis vs. Filip Verlinden
Maykol Yurk vs. Eddy Nait-Slimani
GLORY 27 FIGHT CARD
Middleweight Title: Artem Levin vs. Simon Marcus
Giga Chikadze vs. Kevin Van Nostrand
Middleweight Tournament Finals
Semifinal: Dustin Jacoby vs Karl Roberson
Semifinal: Wayne Barrett vs. Robert Thomas
Joe Schilling vs. Mike Lemaire
Anderson Silva vs. Maurice Greene
Guto Inocente vs. Demoreo Dennis
Casey Greene vs. Daniel Morales
Richard Abraham vs. Pawel Jedrzejczyk
Glory 27 will be broadcast on the ESPN networks, with a live airing on Friday on ESPN3 at 10:00 p.m. ET, and a replay to follow on Sunday, February 28 at 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
The Superfight Series that precedes Glory 27 will air on UFC Fight Pass starting at 7:30 p.m. ET.
If I remember correctly, Bellator Kickboxing will follow K-1 rules.FUCK MAN, stupid ass ref.
These dumbass kickboxing rules that align more with boxing than MMA or Muay Thai. Clinch is important in kickboxing. I feel bad for Levin and Marcus shouldnt be happy with that win. Even though in the last fight Levin was clinching alot he didnt do more than Marcus in this fight. Bellator Kickboxing hopefully realizes that we need clinch in kickboxing, itll also bring in the best Thai's and on a grand stage we can finally find out who the best kickboxers are. Im done with no clinch kickboxing!!
[DOUBLEPOST=1457798332][/DOUBLEPOST]HOW TO WATCHKimbo Slice, GLORY kickboxer. That was almost a thing last year.
GLORY CEO Jon Franklin told MMA Fighting this week that he and his staff discussed the possibility of bringing the wildly popular former streetfighter in for a bout. Slice had competed in boxing before and, obviously, had a history in MMA. At the time, Slice was already on the Bellator MMA roster and GLORY and Bellator shared a television network, Spike TV.
Talks ceased pretty quickly, though. Nothing personal against Slice, but GLORY execs didn't want to compromise the promotion's identity as the top kickboxing organization in the world by putting forth a subpar product.
"Ultimately, while we had discussions about doing some big events like that, the decision really was that we want to be a true sporting league," Franklin said. "The best athletes in the world fighting for the top prizes against the best athletes in the world. That's really who we are and what we want to be, a global sporting league."
In a nutshell, that is the main reason why Spike TV parted ways with GLORY last fall. Spike, like all television networks, is in the ratings business. GLORY's unwillingness to do things like bring in the likes of Slice for "fun fights" that would draw numbers meant those two parties were no longer a good fit for each other.
Spike will stay in the kickboxing business with Bellator Kickboxing, led by Bellator MMA and longtime kickboxing promoter Scott Coker. GLORY has moved onto ESPN's family of networks (ESPN 2 and 3, mainly) and UFC Fight Pass. GLORY 28 is set for Saturday with its Superfight Series airing on Fight Pass and its numbered card on ESPN 3.
"They were really pushing us into things that we didn't want to do," Franklin said of Spike TV. "Scott is a great promoter and a wonderful man. He was really working on and trying to help us at the time with matchmaking and things like that. But really, we need to control our own matchmaking. We've got our own talent operations team. We've got the best kickboxers in the world. We need to manage our own destiny. Some of the things that they were doing [at Spike] weren't necessarily the direction that we wanted to go."
Bellator MMA's formula, like it or not, is working. Last month's Bellator 149, headlined by over-the-hill legends Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock and Slice vs. fellow streetfighter Dada 5000, did massive ratings -- an average of almost 2 million viewers with 2.5 million on average watching Slice vs. Dada. It was the highest rated Bellator event ever. It also landed Dada, whose real name is Dhafir Harris, in the hospital after suffering cardiac arrest.
What Bellator and Spike are doing isn't pure sport. But it's obviously what a large amount of people want to watch. On the other hand, GLORY has the best kickboxing brand in the world, but ratings on Spike were stagnant at best, especially toward the end.
"They're getting great ratings and they're accomplishing a lot," Franklin said. "But is it because people like to watch a train wreck or is it because it's the best fighting in the world? ... Everybody drives by that car accident and slows down. They've gotta see it, even if it's gruesome."
Bellator Kickboxing, which launches in April, will be a direct competitor to GLORY. But it's obvious the two promotions will be trying to do different things.
"We are looking for a certain type of fighter," Coker said last month at the introductory press conference. "We are looking for a certain type of personality in the fighter. That's really what it comes down to. Not every fighter that fights for GLORY or any other kickboxing organization around the world is going to fit here in Bellator Kickboxing. We will be scouting the planet for the fighters that we want and those are the fighters we are going to invest in and build."
However, Bellator Kickboxing has already plucked American star Raymond Daniels from GLORY and two-sport fighter Joe Schilling will soon join him. Schilling competed on the GLORY 27 Superfight Series (on UFC Fight Pass) in February and has one more left fight on his GLORY contract, but he plans on then bolting to Bellator Kickboxing. He was at the introductory press conference in Houston and is also a contracted Bellator MMA fighter.
"It's an exciting sport," Schilling said of kickboxing. "It's just a matter of having the right people to promote it in the right way so that people will tune in and watch it. I think the right person is Scott Coker.
"The sport sells itself. It's the product is there, you've just gotta get people to watch it. I think Bellator and Spike understand that and that was really the basis behind my decision of sticking with them."
Dustin Jacoby, a former Bellator MMA fighter and current GLORY kickboxer, said he has also been contacted about coming over to Bellator Kickboxing. It's something he's considering.
"These days, once there's bigger markets out there picking up other people, that starts throwing the price and value of the fighters up a little bit," Jacoby said. "We'll see how it plays out. I think competition breeds success and I think that's what will happen between GLORY and Bellator."
There's no doubt in Jacoby's mind, however, where the best fighters still are and that's GLORY.
"I love GLORY," Jacoby said. "I think there are some things going on behind the scenes that they have to step it up if they want to compete with these other organizations. They have the top fighters. I know for a fact [about] the guys they have on the roster. I would much rather face these guys that Bellator is gonna start signing, especially at the beginning. Because I know what kind of killers GLORY has."
That's exactly what Franklin wants to hear. GLORY is more concerned with having the best fighters going for the most prestigious titles than drawing the biggest numbers. Being on ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports, was a dream of matchmaker Cor Hemmers, Franklin said.
But without significant ratings, how can GLORY survive? Franklin said most of the company's revenue now comes from international television deals. Ticket sales in Europe and sponsorships with American companies also generate money.
It's not that GLORY doesn't want to draw the eyes of as many people as possible. It's just that Franklin and his staff want to do it with elite-level kickboxers, rather than special attractions like Slice. Some would call those "freak show" fights.
The onus is on GLORY to make incredible talents like welterweight champion Nieky Holzken and heavyweight champ Rico Verhoeven big stars in the United States, which is not easy considering they are both from the Netherlands and kickboxing is even more of a niche than MMA is in the U.S.
"Ultimately, you've gotta bring those guys to the public and the public has to embrace them," Franklin said.
Easier said than done. Bellator Kickboxing will surely have bigger names that fans recognize right off the bat. Franklin is not only OK with that, but he likes the idea of the new promotion's existence. Competition is a good thing, in his mind.
"We have the best kickboxers in the world," Franklin said. "I personally truly believe that the more kickboxing product is out there on television, the better it is for everyone. I love seeing other promoters get into kickboxing. I love seeing other networks get into kickboxing. Because it becomes more of a mainstream sport."
While Bellator Kickboxing will be attempting to draw ratings numbers, GLORY will work to make sure it is still the best in terms of talent and sport. The goals will be different.
"When UFC Fight Pass announced our partnership, they said that GLORY is the No. 1 kickboxing promotion in the world and we have to keep it that way," Franklin said. "We have to make sure our belts are the most important belts for the fighters. We plan on doing that and we plan on continuing to do that."
That means you won't be seeing anyone like Kimbo Slice, Dada 5000 or CM Punk fighting for GLORY any time soon. For better or for worse.
"Ratings aren't everything," Franklin said. "There's more to sports than just the ratings. ... Our style and what we want to be is the top kickboxing league in the world. We feel that we are. We want to have the best athletes fighting the best athletes on the best television networks. And that's our goal. Other promotions can drive ratings however they want. Everybody has their own thing that they're doing."
Glory announced on Friday that Glory 37 will take place on Jan. 20 at The Novo by Microsoft in downtown Los Angeles
“L.A. Live is exactly where Glory needs to be and The Novo [by Microsoft] is a perfect host for us,” said Glory CEO Jon Franklin. “We're bringing the world's best strikers to the most entertaining place on the planet. The best and brightest in basketball are playing across the street at Staples Center; our broadcast partner ESPN has their west coast studio at L.A. Live. It's all happening at this major hub for sports and we're happy to be a part that culture.”
While no official bouts or combatants have been announced for the event, Glory officials did reveal that the lightweight title will be up for grabs and a one-night four-man welterweight contender tournament will take place on the main card. Per the norm, the Glory 37 main card will be streamed live on ESPN3.com and the SuperFight Series undercard will be streamed live on UFC Fight Pass.