Joe Long: Bellator and Scott Coker “didn’t fly straight with the UK market”

Joe Long has had an interesting and influential role in the growing popularity of mixed martial arts (MMA) in the UK, being at the epicentre of numerous combat sports events, including both the UFC and Bellator MMA’s presence on British soil. Long is one of two co-owners of sports management and marketing agency, Fighters Inc which, he co-founded with former world Karate champion, Paul AldersonThe two friends (and training partners) went into business together after Joe was forced to retire from competing (aged 22) in international Karate due to a serious knee injury; and would go on to manage the early professional boxing career of British heavyweight boxer, Dillian Whytepromote the UK’s first ‘hybrid’ combat sports event; and much more over the last 21 years.


With the UFC returning to London on March 17, 2018 at UFC Fight Night 127, K1ANOOP interviewed Joe Long for his perspective on the development and current state of niche combat sports (especially MMA) in the UK. Back in July 2002 when the promotion initially arrived for UFC 38: Brawl at the Hall, it was the first time that the UFC had hosted an event outside of the USA which, would undoubtedly impact the strong growth of MMA in the UK. A healthy volume of British fighters has since emerged on the world stage including: former UFC middleweight champion, Michael Bisping and former Bellator light-heavyweight champion, Liam McGearyThe evolution of British based MMA promotions, most notably: BAMMA and Cage Warriors, has also been impressive to witness; and provides British MMA athletes with more opportunities of making a viable sporting career too.

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The Joe Long interview took place at The Troxy in East London which, had survived ‘The Blitz’ during World War 2 and was recognised by English Heritage as being a Grade 2 listed building in 1991. The Art Deco designed venue which, has been entertaining Londoners since the 1930s, was once England’s largest cinema and in recent decades, has been hosting a variety of combat sports events too. Spending an hour and a half with Joe towards the end of February and having a candid conversation with him about his vast experiences and plentiful stories resulted in a YouTube mini documentary interview (playlist) series with Joe Long; sharing his stories from the last 21 years including: the UFC, Bellator, GLORY Kickboxing and so much more from the world of Kickboxing, Karate and MMA.

In this first instalment of articles derived from the Joe Long mini documentary interview, we discuss his relationship with Bellator and their CEO Scott Coker which, initially seemed to be heading in a very positive direction for both parties (but would badly disintegrate). As well as his opinion on how and why Bellator have not been anywhere near as successful in the UK compared to their closest/biggest rivals, the UFC.

Joe Long says Bellator have “diluted the brand” via BAMMA partnership

In 2014 and then 2016, GLORY Kickboxing were supposed to have returned to the UK and Fighters Inc were ready to facilitate GLORY’s return as they had done for GLORY 5 London, only for both of these proposed return-events falling through in the final stages, according to Long. Following the first and very costly mishap for Fighters Inc with GLORY, Long and Alderson had been in-talks with other global promotions as a precaution and when GLORY again didn’t complete, Bellator MMA would take the date and The O2 Arena via Fighters Inc instead, resulting in Bellator 158.


“Scott Coker came over here, see the arena. Fell in love with the arena and said that they wanted to do the show. They’ll either run it as their own show or they’re gonna sub-license the promotion out. Either way they wanted the date.”

“So we was running a lot of shows with the The O2. We literally booked the whole of The O2. We couldn’t sub-licence it because to would’ve been too much money for us to sub-licence it. Another company sub-licenced it and they run the Bellator show as part of the SENI weekend. We were supposed to do a hell of a lot that never happened through no fault of our own.”


“However, we were responsible for bringing that show to the UK, whether it was sub-licence or not, we was the ones that opened the door and got them in-front of the UK audience and the arena and secured them the arena. So that was the Bellator story and then; I’ve got to say, really let down by Scott Coker, really let down. Talking about Dillian Whyte – a bit of a downtime in my career – same with Scott Coker.”

“Everyone talks so highly of Scott and he is without doubt very professional. However, he didn’t – as far as I’m concerned – didn’t fly straight with the UK market.”

“The last show that they did in London, Fighters Inc were supposed to be working on that on a full-time basis and it never come to fruition. We was told we had a deal and it never come to fruition; and when I say we had a deal, I got a phone call off Scott Coker on New Year’s Day that year; saying we’ve got a deal, we wanna work with you; then it just went quiet for so many months. Never heard from him.”


“It was really weird, it was almost like there was other people involved trying to again that mentality of block us out. Whether or not that happened, I don’t know. whether it was Scott’s own decision, I don’t know. Whether or not it was Viacom’s decision, I don’t know but we as Fighters Inc were promised a gig from Scott Coker, to do the promotion – same sort of thing as GLORY – for Bellator for the London show and that never come to fruition.”

“Scott knows we were disappointed with him. I’d say the same thing to you on camera as I’d say to Scott on the phone or to his face. We felt let down and that was a kick in the teeth, last year, year before – kick in the teeth.”

“Our PR person actually done the PR for them for the whole show but we didn’t get to do what we was told we were going to do, which was; execute different marketing, staffing etc etc. So the relationship with Bellator kind of went its own way. But then you know, Scott invited Paul [Alderson] and I to the show. Went and watched the show, great show, I enjoyed the show.”

“I think the brand is a great brand but I also think that they’ve made the wrong moves in the UK with Bellator. I think they’ve diluted the brand by what they’ve done with BAMMA, personally that’s what I think.”

“As far as I’m concerned, Bellator’s the second biggest MMA brand in the world. You should be coming over here doing what UFC done and that’s actually what excited us as a a company that someone else was coming to the UK; with a great promoter as I say he’s a great promoter, Scott. But they didn’t for us do what they said they’d do and we felt kinda let down by that.”

How Bellator could re-strategise their marketing in the UK and Ireland

For someone with 21 years experience in sports marketing to complain about the (lack of) communication skills at one of the biggest MMA promotions in the world which, just happens to be owned by a global media conglomerate in Viacom, is very alarming indeed. Usually, this kind of problem is something that one would stereotypically expect to find with an inexperienced small-scale promoter on a local/domestic scene, lacking resources.


If MMA is to continue developing as the fastest growing sport in the world then surely the leading MMA promotions who, are fortunate enough to be their own media companies (Viacom also own Spike TV which is Bellator’s broadcasting partner), should have much better lines of communication both internally and externally?

“BAMMATOR” – Bellator’s partnership with BAMMA in both the UK and Ireland, has so far involved three co-promotions from, February 2017 to March 2018 but unless Bellator were to takeover BAMMA is this really the best branding exercise Scott Coker can be executing in the UK let alone Europe?

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Nevertheless, in an interview with Peter Carroll, Bellator featherweight James Gallagher who, fights out of SBG Irelandmade some strong but fair points of view that correlate with some of what Joe Long had to say about Bellator’s branding and marketing strategy in Ireland and the UK:

“Bellator definitely has it in their power to become the biggest international promotion when it comes to the European market, but they need to drop BAMMA if they want to do that. They need to come over here with a proper Bellator card and f**k all the rest of the mixing promotion stuff. If they put on their own card they can really show people what they’re about. BAMMA’s involvement takes away from Bellator.”

After all, how many British MMA fans were entirely happy with the initial announcements about the UFC Fight Night 127 London fight card earlier this year?

Badr Hari on defeating Hesdy Gerges at GLORY 51: “I don’t lose rematches.”

A much anticipated rematch, almost eight years in the making, was finally settled by Badr Hari who, secured an unanimous decision victory over, Hesdy Gerges last night at the Ahoy Rotterdam. The result was a reasonably good return after 15 months of inactivity and reinforced Badr’s post-fight comment of, “I don’t lose rematches”, after winning the GLORY 51 headliner.

Speaking to GLORY commentator, Todd Grisham afterwards, Hari opened-up about about: his successful return to kickboxing; what it means to be part of GLORY moving forward in his career; his own post-fight analysis; and that potential rematch with Rico Verhoeven was discussed too.

Hari

Badr attacks Hesdy’s body | Photo credit: James Law/Glory Sports International

“This is a fight we’ve been waiting for a long time. I was burned like a lot of people know. Like, I don’t lose rematches my friend. I’m 9-1 in all the fighters I fight for the second time. If you give me a second chance I beat you up.”

“But let me say, Hesdy did a good job. He’s one of the toughest fighters walking around in GLORY. He’s no easy guy. He had a big heart but tonight my heart was bigger.  So, you win some and you lose some but I respect him a lot and I’m happy.”

“We’ve been waiting for this fight for like eight years when we we’re youngsters and we came back. I came back in shape. He came back a little big heavy but he did a good job.”

“I wanna thank GLORY for giving me the opportunity to be back and to be part of a family and I think this is the best fighting sport in the world.”

Hari

Hari teeps Gerges to the body | Photo credit: James Law/Glory Sports International

“You know, I like boxing but I like GLORY more. I like MMA but I like GLORY more. I think we’re the number one fighting sport in the business. So, there’s another rematch coming up I think.”

“I don’t know a lot of fighters who knocked Hesdy out, there are a couple but he’s a very tough guy. But the main goal like I said, in the interviews, I wanna take off some ring rust. You know, I didn’t been in the ring for a couple of times. So, I needed these rounds – I wanna make three rounds – and this guy; I know he’s a good guy but before he really annoyed me. It was like I’ve got to make him quit and it would only make me hungry.”

“Mousidi, his trainer knows me very well. I’m a tough kid. I’m from the streets. I don’t take shit and I don’t take shit and I don’t give up. If I give up its because I cannot fight.”

“But today I gassed him out. He was tired, I saw it in him, he didn’t train hard enough for me.”

Hari

Badr counters Hesdy’s outside low kick | Photo credit: James Law/Glory Sports International

When asked about a certain promise he’d made to Rico Verhoeven of, rematching and knocking out the GLORY heavyweight champion, after his second round TKO (arm injury) defeat at GLORY Collision, Badr responded: “I don’t have to give him a message. The fight was a message.”

“You know, people always concerned about my condition and about my physique. I think today I showed everybody, nothing wrong with my condition. Nothing wrong with my physique; I took off my weight.”

Badr had surprised everyone at the weigh-ins (the day before), weighing-in at 101.8kg which, was approximately 13kg lighter compared to, his previous fight against Verhoeven in December 2016. This leaner, meaner looking version of Hari is reminiscent of his younger and more threatening self for his heavyweight rivals. Who or what’s next for Badr will be certainly be interesting to see, especially if its another grudge match with another adversary from the past.

Click here for the full results and roundup from all the action at GLORY 51 Rotterdam.

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GLORY 51 Rotterdam: Badr Hari vs. Hesdy Gerges post-fight results and roundup

Badr Hari returned to GLORY Kickboxing after 15 months of inactivity (and jail time) to defeat Hesdy Gerges via unanimous decision in the headline bout of GLORY 51 Rotterdam. The rematch had been 8 years in the making after Hari was disqualified for shin kicking Gerges in the head (whilst on the canvas) in their previous meeting at, It’s Showtime Amsterdam in May 2010.

A return to winning winning ways for a lean, mean Badr Hari

Georges would stay composed in the first round and Badr would be the more active striker but come the second round, Hesdy would do what he had promised leading up-to their “Bad Blood” rematch; and put the pressure on Hari. However, come the third and final round and with both men visibly tiring, Badr would have the better gas tank and convincingly took a gritty third round to secure the decision.

Badr Hari’s application of body hooks as part of his attacks to the body were noticeable throughout the fight and characteristic of his striking habits from years gone by.

“The Golden Boy” even utilised his trademark spinning heel kicks on a couple of occasions to try and catch out Gerges who, had been caught out from a head kick in his previous fight and KO loss to, Mladen Brestovac at GLORY 45 Amsterdam – the Dutch capital being marked by GLORY‘s now CDO and former CEO, John Franklin – as a target for Badr Hari to return to on a future GLORY event in 2018.

Nabiyev secures title shot by overcoming former champion Doumbe

Alim Nabiyev would put the pressure on Cedric Doumbe in the final round of their title eliminator, putting the former GLORY welterweight champion in visible trouble to secure a convincing decision. Doumbe suffered his second defeat in GLORY since losing (his first) to, Murthel Groenhart by decision at GLORY 44 Chicago.

Since then Groenhart lost the title on his first defence by a shocking first round TKO to new welterweight champion, Harut Grigorian at GLORY 50 Chicago in their trilogy. Nabiyev’s victory should set-up his opportunity to try and take the belt from Grigorian in the coming months with possible changes to the recently announced GLORY 53 Lille fight card which, Doumbe had been announced as headlining before tonight’s loss.

Danenberg and Glunder shine bright on the night at GLORY 51

Eyevan Danenberg continued to impress by winning the GLORY 51 Contender Tournament by seeing off Thongchai Sitsongpeenong (in the final) via unanimous decision after, a messy affair (in the semi-finals) against Jimmy Vienot via split decision. The tournament success follows on from Danenberg’s flawless win by decision over the resilient Jamie Bates at GLORY 49 SuperFight Series. On current form surely “Mister Cool” can expect to challenge for the welterweight title in the first half of 2018?

An exciting fight between Massaro Glunder and Victor Pinto would result in Glunder gifting his Dad, Rodney Glunder, with a nice (belated) birthday gift of an unanimous decision victory over, the younger of two Pinto brothers. Glunder bounces back from a controversial defeat to Dylan Salvador at GLORY 47 Lyon and looks certain to build on his current momentum within the lightweight division by ideally returning to action as swiftly as possible.

Full results from both the GLORY 51 Rotterdam and GLORY 51 SuperFight Series fight cards are below.

GLORY 51 Rotterdam – Results:

Badr Hari def. Hesdy Gerges via unanimous decision (UD), heavyweight bout.

Welterweight Tournament Final:

Eyevan Danenberg def. Thongchai Sitsongpeenong via UD.

Tomas Mozny def. Daniel Skvor via UD, heavyweight bout.

Welterweight Tournament Semi-Finals:

Eyevan Danenberg def. Jimmy Vienot via split decision.

Thongchai Sitsongpeenong def. Alan Scheinson via split decision.

GLORY 51 SuperFight Series – Results:

Alim Nabiyev def. Cédric Doumbé via split decision, welterweight bout.

Mohammed Jaraya def. Miles Simson via unanimous decision (UD), welterweight bout.

Tyjani Beztati def. Anil Cabri by Rd1 TKO, lightweight bout.

Massaro Glunder def. Victor Pinto via UD, featherweight bout.

Kevin van Heeckeren def. Bart van der Kroon by Rd1 KO, middleweight bout.

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Nieky Holzken on World Boxing SuperSeries semi-final against Callum Smith: “Now I’m gonna get what I deserve”

Earlier today, former GLORY Kickboxing champion, Nieky Holzken, successfully weighed-in for his World Boxing SuperSeries (WBSS) semi-final bout tomorrow against, WBC Diamond champion, Callum Smith in Nuremberg. Holzken is a late replacement for Jurgen Braehmer who, was unable to recover in time from influenza for tomorrow’s big fight.

Speaking to James Helder of IFL TV, Holzken recounted how he received a phone call from WBSS promoter, Kalle Sauerland, two days after defeating, Viktor Polyakov (on February 3) by second round TKO; having broken two of Polyakov’s ribs in the process and being offered this huge opportunity to step in as a “substitute” against Smith.

Smith has been undefeated for the last five years in 23 fights as a professional boxer and has far greater experience in the “Sweet Science” than the Dutch Kickboxing legend. However, Holzken is under no false-illusions about the challenge facing him tomorrow night and conceded that Smith “will be a difficult fight”, however, “everything can happen in the fight”.

“The Natural” is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest welterweight kickboxers of his time. Although his recent run of form includes three straight losses under GLORY kickboxing rules, Holzken’s boxing career has flourished in-comparison, seeing him go undefeated in all 13 of his professional boxing bouts since March 2013.

Holzken

Photo credit: James Law/Glory Sports International.

The winner of Smith vs. Holzken will fight George Groves in the final of the WBSS super-middleweight tournament on June 2, 2018. However, the event may need to be rescheduled after Groves dislocated his shoulder in the final round when retaining his WBA (Super) super-middleweight title againstChris Eubank Jr via unanimous decision to qualify for the WBSS final.

How to Watch the World Boxing SuperSeries semi-final: Callum Smith vs. Nieky Holzken LIVE

Coverage of Callum Smith vs. Nieky Holzken will be broadcasted live from the Arena Nürnberger Versicherung in Nuremberg on February 24, 2018 by ITV Box Office online via the ITV website for £9.95 & via Sky (channel 493) and Virgin Media.

How did Nikey Holzken perform in a boxing ring in his last fight?

Holzken won his most recent boxing bout by second round TKO against, Viktor Polyakov – Watch the full fight video below:

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GLORY 50 Chicago: Murthel Groenhart vs. Harut Grigorian post-fight results and roundup

GLORY 50 Chicago delivered a memorable night for GLORY‘s first main event of 2018 with, Harut Grigorian dethroning Murthel Groenhart for the GLORY welterweight title in the headline bout; Benjamin Adegbuyi won the Heavyweight Contender Tournament in dominant fashion; and Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong retained his lightweight crown via unanimous decision against, Christian Baya at the UIC Pavillion.

The third instalment of Groenhart vs. Grigorian was cut short from a first round referee stoppage that some may say was “karma” (after Groenhart’s controversial victory at GLORY 42 Paris) but others questioning if the fight may have ended too soonThe trilogy between both welterweights now makes it one win for Grigorian and two previous victories for Groenhart – all by stoppages for the hard hitting rivals.

Harut Grigorian punches Murthel Groenhart down to the canvas in Chicago

Twitter outrage over referee’s first round stoppage of Murthel Groenhart by Harut Grigorian

The fans didn’t react too well to how referee, Chris Wagner, stopped the fight between Groenhart and Grigorian in the first round:

https://twitter.com/sari__1993/status/964738449449172994

Comparisons were even made with the controversial ending of,  Artem Levin vs. Simon Marcus at GLORY  27 which, happened two years ago in Chicago.

Could a a third rematch be on the cards in the near future between Groenhart and Grigorian?

https://twitter.com/Bamboo_mic/status/964737515176517633

The reason why referee Chris Wagner stopped Groenhart vs. Grigorian in the first round

However, referee Chris Wagner, explained his first round stoppage of Groenhart vs. Grigorian to US based reporter, Michael Stets Steczkowski and that it was to prevent Murthel Groenhart “from getting hurt even worse”.

Benjamin Adegbuyi reminds everyone why he’s still one of the best heavyweight kicboxers

The 4-man heavyweight contender tournament was won by Benjamin Adegbuyi who, emphatically KO’d D’Angelo Marshall, in the first round of their semi-final and then went on to win by second round TKO against, Junior Tafa, in the final.

The victories put Adegbuyi back in-contention for possibly another title-shot against, GLORY heavyweight champion, Rico Verhoeven, after a disappointing and controversial decision loss to, Guto Inocente at GLORY 43 New York. Adegbuyi will be eager to return to GLORY Kickboxing action as swiftly as possible no doubt, after being inactive for six months since GLORY 43.

However, Guto Inocente had actually defeated Junior Tafa in their semi-final on the night via unanimous decision but GLORY would then confirm that “due to a cut suffered in the semi-finals”, Inocente was not able to fight against Adegbuyi in the final and so, Tafa would replace Guto, despite the semi-final result.

The decision by GLORY for Tafa to replace Inocente in the final of the GLORY 50 Contender Tournament against Adegbuyi was best explained by Steczkowski as below in-light of, Haze Wilson vs. Anthony McDonald  being cancelled (earlier) on the GLORY 50 SuperFight Series card (as potentially a reserve bout for the tournament if anyone was injured).

Sitthichai successfully retains GLORY lightweight title for a third time

Since defeating Robin van Roosmalen for the GLORY lightweight title at GLORY 31 Amsterdam in June 2016,  Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong defended his championship for a third time in the headline bout of, the GLORY 50 SuperFight Series card against, Christian Baya via unanimous decision.

Kickboxing fans and enthusiasts online were all in-agreement that Sitthichai was the dominant of the two for all five rounds. The question that remains unanswered is as to who, can GLORY now bring in, to pose a serious risk to Sitthichai’s continued dominance as GLORY lightweight champion?

Full results for both GLORY 50 Chicago & GLORY 50 SuperFight Series are as below.

GLORY 50 Chicago – Results:

Harut Grigorian def. Murthel Groenhart by Rd1 TKO – For the GLORY welterweight championship

Richard Abraham def. Malik Watson-Smith via unanimous decision (UD)

Heavyweight Contender Tournament:

Benjamin Adegbuyi def. Junior Tafa by Rd2 TKO – Tournament Final

NOTE: Inocente was replaced by Tafa in the final due to injury/cut.

Benjamin Adegbuyi def. D’Angelo Marshall by Rd1 KO – Semi-final

Guto Inocente def. Junior Tafa via unanimous decision (UD) – Semi-final

GLORY 50 SuperFight Series – Results:

Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong def. Christian Baya via unanimous decision (UD) – retains GLORY lightweight championship

Haze Wilson vs. Anthony McDonald – Cancelled on medical grounds

Omar Moreno def. Casey Greene via UD (extra round)

Omari Boyd def. Daniel Morales via split decision

Diego Llamas def. Justin Houghton by Rd1 TKO

ONE Championship Kickboxing sign Giorgio Petrosyan, Fabio Pinca, Regian Eersel; promotional debut in Mainlla, April 2018

ONE Championship have set-up their own Kickboxing organisation and have announced singing multiple world champions:  Giorgio Petrosyan, Fabio Pinca & Regian Eersel; and are set to feature in some capacity on, the ONE Championship Kickboxing promotional debut in Manilla on April 20, 2018 at the ONE: Heroes of Honour event.

The news was broken overnight by ABS-CBN News including, the signings of both Yodsanklai Fairtex and Sam-A Gaiyanghadao for ONE Championship Kickboxing too.

One Championship Kickboxing’s promotional debut set for April 20, 2018

Giorgio Petrosyan will make his promotional debut on the ONE: Hero of Honour card in Manilla against another Lion Fight world champion (in-addition to Eersel’s ONE debut) in, Jo Nattuwat who, was born in Thailand, but living in the USA whilst fighting for Lion Fight.

However, with ONE Championship Kickboxing signing the likes of, “The Doctor” along with Fabio Pinca & “The Immortal” Regian Eersel, more fuel will undoubtedly be poured on the fires of speculation over the uncertain futures of all three men in the world of Kickboxing and Muay Thai.

Petrosyan

Photo credit: James Law/Glory Sports International

It is understood that the contracts for the above three are not exclusively binding to ONE Championship Kickboxing and allow for either of them to pursue MMA  careers via ONE Championship. Both Pinca & Eersel have made it no secret that they have been training for quite some time in the grappling arts and are open to fighting MMA in the near future.

How John Wayne Parr influenced the changing future of Muay Thai & Kickboxing

Interestingly, ONE Championship’s owner, Chatri Sityodtong, added a unique selling point to the promotion’s kickboxing future:

“ONE Championship is dedicated to giving fans an authentic martial arts experience. We are proud to announce that the absolute best strikers in the world have chosen to continue their professional careers under the ONE banner. Fans will be treated to the most exciting kickboxing matches where the best face the best inside of both our ring and our cage.”

“Some matches will be under standard international kickboxing rules in our ring, and other matches will be under modified hybrid striking rules in our cage. This is a game changer in the world of martial arts, and I am excited to kick things off this April.”

Parr

Photo credit: Image via Muay Thai Grand Prix

Since 2012, Muay Thai legend, John Wayne Parr, who currently fights for Bellator Kickboxing, has been promoting Muay Thai fights in a cage under his own promotion, Caged Muay Thai (CMT) in Australia which, has grown in popularity. CMT has regularly featured international fighters, despite some Thaiboxing purists accusing the living legend of, “bastardising” the sport. However, five and a half years on, “The Gunslinger” has become quite the influencing pioneer for the striking arts being showcased in a cage and not in a traditional boxing ring.

One Championship have certainly ‘broken a few eggs to make an omolette’

However, despite the exciting news about the launch of ONE Championship Kickboxing, the promotion’s MMA ventures haven’t always been smooth sailing since their inauguration in 2011, especially when dealing with fighters from the western world.

For example, the promotion’s well publicised fall-outs with both James McSweeney and heavyweight rival, Chi Lewis-Parry who, were both previously signed to, ONE Fighting Championship and were being lined-up to fight each other; only for both fighters to be controversially released by the promotion after both men dramatically fell out with ONE Championship (at different points in time) over a variety of allegations including, mistreatment.

Vera

Photo credit: Image via ONE Championship

Nevertheless, the marquee signing of two-time K-1 World Grand Prix champion, Giorgio Petrosyan, is undoubtedly the biggest name in western combat sports to join ONE Championship following on from, former UFC heavyweight, Brandon Vera, in July 2014.

Since then the promotion have obviously hit some turbulent times (like many others including, GLORY Kickboxing) but now seem to have restrategised themselves from a much wider business marketing perspective, embarking on a more positive direction and signalling their serious intentions for future growth, in both MMA and world kickboxing.

K1ANOOP will report again on further developments as more fighters from both Europe and the UK are expected to confirm signing for ONE Championship Kickboxing.

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Badr Hari vs. Hesdy Gerges rematch headlines GLORY 51 Rotterdam

Badr Hari vs. Hesdy Gerges will headline GLORY 51 Rotterdam as announced earlier this morning in a much anticipated rematch. The two heavyweight rivals had previously fought each other at It’s Showtime 2010 Amsterdam but Hari would be disqualified for shin-kicking Gerges in the head whilst he was on the canvas.

“The Golden Boy” and Gerges were once coached by legendary Dutch kickboxing coach, Thom Harinck at the Chakuriki Gym, only for Badr Hari and Harinck to have fallen-out very badly. Badr opened-up about this in the past when interviewed by Michael Schiavello and admitted that the bitter resentment he had towards his former trainer at the time, was what fuelled his disqualifying actions against Gerges when they previously clashed.

Nevertheless, the announcement this morning will undoubtedly have world kickboxing fans hyped-up following on from, a very successful year end event at Glory Redemption: Rico vs. Jamal which, was also at the Ahoy Rotterdam, where GLORY 51: Badr vs. Hesdy will also take place on March 3, 2018.

Gerges was very quick to call-out Badr for a rematch on social media after it had been announced at GLORY 49 SuperFight Series that Hari had signed a multiple-fight contract with GLORY; and despite coming off a very bad head kick KO to, Mladen Brestovac at GLORY 45 Amsterdam, fortunate would seem to favour Gerges than Brestovac, in returning to action in a very high profile fight against the biggest star in kickboxing.

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Mike Passenier on the return of Badr Hari, Glory Redemption & 2017 round-up

Mike Passenier opens-up on the return of the “Golden Boy” Badr Hari at GLORY 51 Rotterdam which, was announced at GLORY 49 and gives a round-up of: his breakthrough fighters in 2017 at Mike’s Gym; Glory Collision: Rico Verhoeven vs Jamal Ben Saddik; and a look ahead at, Collision 2: Badr vs Rico rematch in 2018 & much more.
0:22 Yousri Belgaroui vs. Alex Pereira, GLORY 49 rematch
1:07 Christian Baya vs. Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong
2:39 The rise of Stoyan Koprivlenski, GLORY 49 Contender Tournament winner
3:25 Ismael Londt’s defeat to D’Angelo Marshall
4:25 Why Nieky Holzken should not retire anytime soon
8:22 The return of Badr Hari in 2018
11:16 Badr Hari’s motivation now compared to the past
12:31 Glory Redemption: Rico Verhoeven vs. Jamal Ben Saddik analysis
14:30 Should Rico Verhoeven have got an 8-count from the referee?
18:05 Glory Collision: Rico vs. Badr technical analysis
20:46 Murthel Groenhart winning the GLORY welterweight title
21:19 2017 kickboxing round-up: Breakthrough of Christian Baya, Stoyan Koprivlenski, Anissa Haddaoui, Fabio Kwasi
23:33 2018 forecast for kickboxing, ‘Golden era’ & message to fans
  
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Murthel Groenhart on Harut Grigorian rematch: “Let’s kill him in the first round” & GLORY 49 recap

GLORY Kickboxing champion, Murthel Groenhart looks ahead at the rematch with Harut Grigorian at GLORY 50 Chicago, declaring: “Let’s kill him in the first round”; and, recaps GLORY 49 Rotterdam which, was topped-off by Glory Redemption: Rico vs. Jamal. As well as the return of his fellow Mike’s Gym team-mate, Badr Hari, come GLORY 51 Rotterdam & much more:

0:13 Another rematch with Harut Grigorian at GLORY 51
2:32 Cedric Doumbe beef, rivalry & mind-games
4:57 Fighting in the USA compared to Europe
6:31 Nieky Holzken‘s loss of form & defeat to Alim Nabiyev
9:08 How to deal with the potential threat of Alim Nabiyev
11:09 Murthel’s tips for fighters & believing in yourself
11:52 Younger brother, Fernando Groenhart‘s kickboxing return
12:48 Badr Hari’s return, Rico Verhoeven & Jamal Ben Saddik
15:33 Yousri Belgaroui‘s eye injury & loss to Alex Pereira
17:54 Ismael Londt‘s returning defeat to D’Angelo Marshall
18:29 Murthel’s worst injury & overcoming it mentally
20:08 Christian Baya vs. Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong
22:43 Stoyan Koprivlinski‘s winning the GLORY 49 Lightweight Contender Tournament
24:24 Forecast for 2018 & bad intentions for Harut Grigorian.

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Badr Hari set to fight in Amsterdam, shortlist of opponents & Rico vs. Badr 2 update

Badr Hari signed a multiple fight contract it was announced last night at Glory 49 SuperFight Series with GLORY Kickboxing dropping an epic video trailer to break the news prior-to, Glory: Redemption commencing at, the Ahoy Rotterdam. However, GLORY CEO, Jon Franklin confirmed to K1ANOOP that GLORY Kickboxing are confident of arranging for, Badr Hari to fight again in Amsterdam in 2018 (video below).

Glory: Redemption was headlined by a successful title defence for GLORY heavyweight champion, Rico Verhoeven with, an emphatic fifth round KO of, Jamal Ben Saddik in what was a much anticipated rematch from six years; Saddik had previously stopped Verhoeven six years ago. Rico would redeem himself in a thrilling year end event for the promotion which, was capped-off with the signing of kickboxing’s “Golden Boy”, Badr Hari.

The rematch between Rico Verhoeven and Badr Hari is still (and has been) a top priory for GLORY as Jon Franklin mentioned when speaking after Glory Redemption but where and when are some of the key questions:

“Do we take him back to Amsterdam for a major event with Rico? Does he fight somebody first? Like I said that would be up-to Team Badr Hari.”


Hari’s return fight for GLORY will be on March 3, 2017 at the Ahoy Rotterdam with strong rumours circulating that heavyweight rival, Benjamin Adegbuyi is on the short-list of potential opponents along with, three-time K-1 champion, Remy Bonjasky; Enfusion two-weight champion, Luis Tavares; Patrice Quateron; Hesdy Gerges; and Daniel Ghita.

K1ANOOP will report again as the situation develops further.

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