Morales vs Greene - Weighing in at GLORY 27

GLORY World Series had initially stated that there would be a 4-man Light-heavyweight tournament at GLORY 30 – Los Angeles. However, it has come to the attention of our kickboxing correspondent, Anoop Hothi, from a source close to the situation that the matchmakers at GLORY have decided to opt for an ‘All American’ 4-man Welterweight tournament instead.

The 4-man tournament match-ups at GLORY 30 on the 13th May 2016 at the, Citizens Business Bank Arena in LA are reportedly:

  1. ‘LA homeboy’ Casey Greene vs Richard Abrham (from Chicago); and
  1. Francois Ambang (of Cameroon descent but resides in Virgina) vs Daniel Morales (of Mexican heritage living in Illinois)

It has become a regular feature at GLORY Kickboxing events for (the majority of) future title contenders to be determined by a 4-man tournament in any given weight class.

An ‘All American’ welterweight tournament would make sense considering that at GLORY 29 – Copenhagen, the current Welterweight champion, Neiky Holzken will defend the belt against Yoann Kongolo on the 16th April 2016; and there hasn’t been a Welterweight 4-man tournament to determine the next title challenger since November 2015 which, Murthel Groenhart won and then went on to challenge but eventually lose a (controversial) decision to Holzken at GLORY 26 – Amsterdam, in December last year.

With Scott Coker’s press conference earlier this year in the USA to announce the ‘birth’ of BELLATOR Kickboxing and instantly becoming an obvious high level threat to GLORY’s investment into the US combat sports market over the last three years, it makes sense for GLORY to be making such changes in advance of GLORY 30. In fact, it’s a very good thing that GLORY are making such changes and it goes to show that they are actually adaptive to the increasing threat in competition for longer term kickboxing fans and potential TV revenue in the USA.

Americans love American fighters and hosting a 4-man tournament full of American fighting talent should undoubtedly boost both TV audience figures, gate receipts and general US public interest in the build up to GLORY 30. However, hosting an ‘All American’ 4-man tournament is not a viable long term solution to the obvious flaw in GLORY’s US marketing strategy.

Americans don’t simply love their own, they love to be enticed, flirted with and aroused by ‘behind the scenes’ character building stories as has been proven repeatedly by ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ reality shows which, saved the UFC from the verge of going bankrupt over a decade ago, and has transformed the UFC into the number one brand of MMA globally (and now reportedly worth up-to $6 Billion Dollars). Not bad considering that the UFC was initially acquired by its current owners for apparently two million US dollars.

Even the ‘Golden era’ of K-1 made efforts to entice their fans both in Japan which, was their ‘bread and butter’ target market and around the world with an insight into their fighters daily lifestyle and away from the ring. For example, the way in which K-1 built up the character (and general interest levels) of horsemeat eating Dutch heavyweight, Alistair Overeem – as shown in the YouTube footage below of Overeem cooking horse meat and eating it in his small kitchen for a ‘behind the scenes’ mini-documentary about the eventual K-1 heavyweight champion:

Nevertheless, one key positive to take from this breaking news is that GLORY have at least identified a way to attract greater public interest in the US for the upcoming GLORY 30 event in LA in May. Hopefully, they will improve upon their disappointing TV viewing figures with the American audience from last year in 2016 by pitting four American fighters against each other, with the tournament winner guaranteed a title shot in the near future which, should attract and retain more US fans for GLORY kickboxing post GLORY 30.