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Behind-the-scenes drama heading into GLORY kickboxing’s New York show: champion Pavel Zhuravlev’s future

By Zach Arnold | October 26, 2018

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Pavel Zhuravlev is GLORY Kickboxing’s Light Heavyweight interim champ. And now, according to GLORY’s web page, he’s gone?

Update: Nope, but just another listing on the fighter roster. Not ranked. What?

Nearly seven months after fighting at GLORY 52 on March 31st, 2018 in Long Beach, Pavel Zhuravlev finds his name – and his career? – erased from some GLORY promotional material.


Update (10/27/2018): Pavel Zhuravlev’s name remains on the site but is not listed in rankings. Why? You have to keep pressing “list more” at least twice to find his name at the bottom of the “All Light Heavyweights” list due to alphabetizing. This is the interim champion and promoted #1 challenger to champion Artem Vakhitov.


Zhuravlev is one of GLORY’s most popular, big name fighters. He’s had over 80 professional bouts. Zhuravlev applied for a new license with the California State Athletic Commission in the middle of March 2018. Here’s a screen shot of his California license application:

Click on image to enlarge

Then, something mysterious happened. A public records request reveals that the Athletic Commission put Zhuravlev on an indefinite medical suspension on April 3rd, 2018. Here’s a screen shot from the Association of Boxing Commissions’ MMA fighter suspension database:

Click on image to enlarge

On June 15th, GLORY Kickboxing published an article on their web site claiming that Zhuravlev had suffered a hand injury. GLORY was building up to a champion vs. champion fight between Pavel Zhuravlev and Artem Vakhitov. The great irony is that Vakhitov had been dealing with his own serious hand injury.

The GLORY article stated that Zhuravlev would return to action in Fall of 2018.

Fast-forward to mid-October 2018. Pavel Zhuravlev’s fighter profile and ranking has been removed from the site’s main page. (still here, though.) No acknowledgement of Zhuravlev as the interim Light Heavyweight kickboxing champion on the site’s main page (but still on his profile).


Update (10/27/2018): Pavel Zhuravlev’s name remains on the site but is not listed in rankings. Why? You have to keep pressing “list more” at least twice to find his name at the bottom of the “All Light Heavyweights” list due to alphabetizing. This is the interim champion and promoted #1 challenger to champion Artem Vakhitov.


What changed between June 15th, 2018 and October 15th, 2018 in the relationship between GLORY kickboxing and Pavel Zhuravlev?

Unless we are not privy to any sort of financial dispute over future bookings… money doesn’t appear to be the main issue.

Unless we are not privy to any sort of matchmaking dispute regarding fights against future opponents… booking doesn’t appear to be the main issue. Zhuravlev has been in 83 fights and won 72 of them. He will fight any challenger.

If money and matchmaking are not the main issues, then why isn’t he fighting Artem Vakhitov in a title match?

This question brings us back to California’s indefinite medical suspension of Pavel Zhuravlev.

On Zhuravlev’s California fighter license application, here is the medical waiver Zhuravlev signed:

I further authorize the Commission or its successors to release any medical or other personal information with respect to my application or licensure to the organizations, individuals or groups listed above as well as additional parties with a vested interest in my current license status with the Commission, including but not limited to my current Manager, a Commission licensed Promoter of an event that I am participating in and to other regulatory bodies. The Commission will release this information only to those individuals, athletic commissions, or similar regulatory bodies that have a need to know, as determined by the Commission. The disclosure of records is required for official use, including investigation of my fitness for licensure by the Commission. I understand that the recipient of my information is not a health plan or health care provider and the released information may no longer be protected by federal privacy regulations.

Not withstanding the many state and Federal legal questions this waiver should naturally illicit…

  1. What has the California State Athletic Commission told GLORY kickboxing about Pavel Zhuravlev’s medical status?
  2. What has Pavel Zhuravlev told GLORY kickboxing about his medical status?

Has somebody been caught deceiving, either through omission of fact or lying about fact(s)?

The bottom line

The promotion is not talking. The California State Athletic Commission is not talking. Pavel Zhuravlev is not talking.

If this was UFC, Top Rank, Golden Boy, Al Haymon, or another major fight promoter, this would be a much bigger story. Instead, the top kickboxing promoter in the world has managed to fly under the radar with this act of revisionist history low-profiling — all while heading into a major New York event.

It’s time for members of the fight media and for other GLORY fighters to start asking questions as to the promotion’s handling of relations with Pavel Zhuravlev and what impact it will have on their own careers.

Topics: CSAC, Media, Zach Arnold | 5 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

5 Responses to “Behind-the-scenes drama heading into GLORY kickboxing’s New York show: champion Pavel Zhuravlev’s future”

  1. Metaxa says:

    “The promotion is not talking. The California State Athletic Commission is not talking.”

    I don’t think either of those bodies is entitled to put someone’s medical information out there without permission.

  2. Safari_Punch says:


    I thought you’d be all over Mayweather/Tenshin.

    IMO, this will probably kill Rizin off. How will they get Tenshin to fight again after an enormous payday against Floyd? Would he be that loyal to come back and fight for peanuts — and a raise would still be peanuts — after getting who knows what kind of payday out of a Mwyweather bout? Did Mayweather buy RIZIN in essence purchase RIZIN unbeknownst to everyone?

    • Zach Arnold says:

      I didn’t talk because experience told me things would fall apart.

      If Mayweather’s version of the story is true, Sakakibara is back to his old PRIDE tactics.

      • Safari_Punch says:

        How bad of a sign is it for business if RIZIN has to use a PR stunt like this? I remember they used Mike Tyson to try to get some interest with PRIDE while they were in the United States, but flying Floyd to Japan and announcing the fight between Mayweather Jr. and Nasukawa is on a whole different level.

  3. Sammy says:

    The fight business is a dirty business no matter what time period, ruleset, sport, promotion, country, money man, promoter, manager, coach, or fighter.

    Japanese business practices aside, any promoter would have tried the same nonsense that Sakakibara tried. UFC plays dirty games with virtually every fighter they’ve ever dealt with. They’ve dangled the idea of Tyson and Floyd in ufc. They paid James toney to make an appearance. They’ve fucked over every fighter who has ever signed a contract in one way or another…most likely many ways.

    Rizin has never gained a foothold as far as I’ve ever noticed. The reasoning is simple: They don’t have the talent or star power. That’s ultimately what made pride so great, or how you valulate any promotion.

    Rizin’s business is definitely struggling but I’m seeing wayyy more problems coming up in the near future for the ufc. They have lost control of their fighters, which is what allowed them to “put on the fights fans want to see” in the first place. As more and more fighters recognize (or think they recognize) their worth, the harder it’s going to be to book fights. I don’t blame the fighters because they’ve been mistreated for so long and continue to be. But now that the ufc is owned by a real (non-mafia-family-run) company fighters are pushing back harder and creating real problems. Look at Khabib. He wins one fight against McGregor and he has refused to fight the number one contender, or anyone else in mma, and the division is at a standstill once again.

    The point is, as UFC is becoming a real company, and fighters are finally making real money, the dirt is starting to come to light and ufc is becoming a more traditional kind of company. No combat sport has ever really gone mainstream or been remotely free of corruption and dirty practices. The UFC is at a crossroads in its relationship with the fighters and has changed dramatically since the purchase. Fact is the ufc is on a collision course with the Muhammed Ali Act, which will be it’s complete undoing.


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