By Zach Arnold | December 21, 2013
— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) December 22, 2013
What a strange show that was on Sunday afternoon at Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo. Looked like the building was half-full, but Ariake Colosseum is one of those mid-sized arenas that is easy to configure and can look very respectable if you do the production right.
The production of the GLORY shows, sans the one at Madison Square Garden, look largely the same. The Tokyo show looked the same as the Chicago event. GLORY is basically a really vanilla version of K-1 with judging that ranges from OK to just downright awful. And it was interesting to note how few, if any references there were to K-1 on the TV side of the equation.
I still am always amazed to see foreign promoters bring shows to Japan and pretty much promote them the way they would elsewhere. They used Tim Hughes as the ring announcer rather than hire a Japanese ring announcer. Two decades ago, pulling off a stunt like this would earn you major scorn in the press — including Western writers. Now, nobody says much even though the impact is still the same with it comes to appealing to Japanese tastes. Other than a Felix Communications ad sign on the side of the ring, you wouldn’t have known it was a Japanese show because there weren’t any graphics in the native language.
As I said a couple of days ago: if I had not received any sort of English-language PR notices about this show, I would have not known that a show was taking place at Ariake Colosseum. Seriously. I saw nothing about the event in any of the sports sections of major Japanese papers.
The only fighter the local Japanese fans really got worked up about was Peter Aerts and that’s because he was a K-1 superstar. But they wouldn’t or couldn’t say K-1. And he faced Rico Verhoeven, who won by split decision. The crowd was buying into the “this may be Aerts’ last fight” angle and then when the SC was announced, the confetti popped and the fans went from boisterous to dead silent.
For what it's worth Peter said this wasn't his retirement. Glory apparently offered him a new contact after this fight as well
— Liver Kick (@LiverKickdotcom) December 22, 2013
Daniel Ghita pummeled Errol Zimmerman into a nasty position and watching the leg bend after the knockdown was brutal.
Nieky Holtzken had quite the battle with Joseph Valtellini and then we had the “Joe Rogan portion” of the Spike broadcast where people on social media went after Duke Roufus for his pro-Dustin Jacoby commentary against Makoto Uehara, although that 30-27 score in favor of Uehara was ridiculous.
Main takeaway from today’s show? The general concept of the GLORY shows works for the Spike audience. The problem is their one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to matchmaking, marketing, and tailoring towards the crowds they are running events at. K-1 was very masterful at figuring out how to promote kickboxing as a spectacle, an event, a social happening. PRIDE very much in the same way. When they ran shows, they tried to book as many locals as possible. They used booking for nationalistic purposes. GLORY runs from market to market with the same product, high quality, with a lot of foreign fighters and it becomes really difficult for fans in those live event markets to build a sentimental attachment. PRIDE was a “movement” organization. K-1 was a “movement organization” as far as proving that Japan was the best in the world for showing how kickboxing is done. GLORY has the feel of an international organization that has the best kickboxing talent — and that strategy has its pluses and its minuses. It may work or may not work in America. In Japan, it’s a real challenge. In Europe, it’s got some potential. I’m just not sure that, as we speak, we are seeing the successful finalized blueprint for GLORY as an event promotion company. Clearly there is a lot of money being spent. The question is how much money and for how much longer before there’s second-guessing about what the business strategy should be.