Lightening in a Bottle

We see in Cosmo’s artistry what actually separates the best from the rest

Lion Fight’s Foxwoods edition takes Muay Thai in America in a whole new direction. We’ve assembled until now on local terrains to play out rivalries between mostly alpha males. There are some females also contending for box office popularity – though let’s be clear about this – the audience demographic remains mostly male. (See “Fan data shows bright future for the UFC, combat sports” by Mookie Alexander on Bloody Elbow)

A Vicious Circle

Where alpha males or females battle for dominance within local populations, there’s just not going to be a whole lot of national – never mind global – media purchase that’d produce meaningful advertising revenues to break out of what amounts to a vicious commercial circle. So Muay Thai in America has been a cottage industry, which makes its money from local patronage and sometimes plies the neighborhood trade with exotic fashions in its window dressing.

Pedro Gonzalez vs. Tim Amorin

Dennis Warner tried to break out of this vicious circle in Las Vegas off its comp’d arenas and site fees for working capital to pay pro purses. With the WBC’s branding, he managed to keyword some Americans into Google Earth and matched them locally (in Las Vegas) with world ranked headliners.

What did in Dennis, ultimately, there was no tv kicker in his business model. So he never got past working the box office through local pay-to-play, where the I-15 connects SoCal to the local Las Vegas terrain and where the casino that hosted his shows wanted foot traffic rather than screen views. When Chinese tv came along, he went for it. There went his shows.

Although Scott Kent’s Lion Fight brings an AXS-TV cable jumper to the local Las Vegas terrain, only the world beaters at Glory Sports International (GSI) seem to think that they can survive in this business without the live gate. In their campaign for world domination, they’ve locked in pretty much all North American headliners.

So the Las Vegas edition of Lion Fight relies heavily for its box office on two local fan favorites in Kevin Ross and Tiffany Van Soest, with an occasional guest appearance by Cosmo Alexandre. Aiming for the national tv audience, Scott also treats us to the star power of Yodsænklai Fairtex and Rungravee Banchæmek Sasiprapa.

Star power is where Muay Thai in America has to go, if we’re going to break out of the vicious (cottage industry) circle. We the fans will have to tune into it, though, which will require us to take some time out from our selfies and from our confusing Facebook “likes” with bit coins. (See “Generation Like” on PBS Frontline)

Brett Hlavacek vs. Cyrus Washington

Pilgrim’s Progress

The Foxwoods edition of Lion Fight is a fundamentally different business model than any tried before it in the U.S. That’s because there just aren’t enough homies for either a blockbuster show or a resort casino like this to make a go of it from local trade. Remember the voice in “Field of Dreams”? It said “if you build it, he will come”. Well they’ll have to come from metro NYC and greater Boston for travel & tourism to make it in Foxwoods’ pastoral location.

From what I’ve personally seen at Foxwoods, a lot of its patronage comes from elderly New Englanders. So hosting a show like this has to extrapolate from Obamacare, by getting ‘young immortals’ to (willingly) diversify what appears to be a skewed population mix.

Given the arduous Northeast Corridor commute from both Beantown and the Big Apple, such a youth movement should be an obvious strategic imperative for Foxwoods with or without Lion Fight’s show. Foxwoods is looking either at a prospect for indeterminate gains against the corresponding risk of growth pains, thus, or the virtual certainty of nothing ventured, nothing gained. Even though Scott Kent himself is gambling on Foxwoods – let’s be clear about this too – his territorial imperative is inherently much more flexible.

Probably feeling about Glory Sports International like Apple® does about Samsung – meaning that he’s back to R&D in product engineering – Scott seems also to be diversifying demographically up and down the entire East Coast. If a picture can tell the story, I made one for you to see where the heavy hitters came from for Lion Fight XVII at Foxwoods on August 1, 2014.

Demographic Diversity

Misalignment of the Stars

Nothing rattles show producers more than late cancellations. Fans come to see their favorites, whether blasting out tunes or someone else’s face. If the headliners don’t show, odds are neither will the fans. This show was supposed to feature Lumpini sensation Thepnimit Sitmonchai vs. Rungravee’s conqueror Dean James from the U.K.

It would’ve been parity for East Coast fans – compared to patrons of Lion Fight’s Las Vegas edition – and a move in the right direction for Muay Thai in America. Turns out the stars just weren’t in alignment. The Thai Thepnimit Sitmonchai couldn’t get a U.S. visa and the Brit Dean James hurt himself in training.

Ever the magician, Kent pulled a rabbit out of the hat. Cosmo Alexandre came through for him on 10 days’ notice to fight a worthy Jo Nattawut, whom Khunpon Dechkampu happened serendipitously to be hosting in Atlanta. That’s what it means for a show producer to be on top of his game. There is nothing shabby whatsoever about WBC’s #1 ranked super middleweight in the world.

Offense scores points in the ring

Cosmo Alexandre (Blackzillians in Boca Raton, Florida) vs.
Jo Nattawut (Bangkok Boxing in Atlanta, Georgia)

Professional Super Middleweights, 5×3

Having taken the fight on such short notice, this is necessarily an exhibition for Cosmo. Whatever separates the best from the rest, you don’t make it through Death Valley without a full tank of gas. Unless Mike Bloomberg buys himself another power trip and contracts the desert to CitiBike, so his own limo never has to share a road anywhere.

Alexandre plays a lot better defense

Pacing himself is a matter for the Brazilian of episodic artistry – like his national soccer team – only Alexandre plays a lot better defense. No criticism intended about the judging. This crew does it so much better, that Nick Lembo ought to be the one contracting traffic patrols in the desert.

Even with the kind of freeze frames I get about a week later, they wouldn’t and shouldn’t make a difference in judging the fights. Offense scores points in the ring, no matter how lock-down the defense. It’s left for never-one-to-leave-well-enough-alone to observe how the preponderance of purchase in martial arts is for self-defense.

Jo Nattawut makes the most of his 'Rocky' moment

So Jo Nattawut makes the most of his ‘Rocky’ moment. He puts on the kind of performance to make me wonder exactly what it’s going to take for us to get past pay-to-play with local rivals [see Brett Hlavacek vs. Cyrus Washington below] and challenge ourselves to break out of the vicious (cottage industry) circle. If we’re so sophisticated here in our insularity, how come no local match maker invited Jo Nattawut – or for that matter Francois Ambang – to exhibit his performance art in our culture capitol’s galleries? That’s why Muay Thai in America needs a disruptive innovator like Scott Kent.

When Cosmo switches from discretion to the better part of valor, episodically, we see in his artistry what actually separates the best from the rest. For all the time so many train in the gym, skipping this kind of master’s live demonstration is like getting in the ring without a mouth piece. When you get your teeth knocked out, tell the dentist what else it was that you were so busy doing. You know who I’m talking about. There is more to career development than just going through the motions.

Cosmo Alexandre comes to rescue the show, and he does. Jo Nattawut comes to make a name for himself, and he does. Since both get what they’ve come for, the evidence supports a win-win verdict, except for those who bought tickets to see Thepnimit Sitmonchai vs. Dean James. Late cancellations always force compromises. Either we make the best of them or concede free will to fate. If you always get what you want, bottle it. I’ll be your first customer.

Winner: Jo Nattawut by Split Decision: 48-47, 47-48, and 48-47. [As so often happens, I side with the minority, because bada bing bada boom matters.]

Bada bing bada boom matters.

We’ve got such a proliferation of Krus, Arjarns, Masters and even Grand Masters patrolling the selfi-scape. In the meantime – back down on planet Earth – males of our species graduate from ‘master’ to ‘mister’ solely by virtue of aging out of adolescence.

Whether there’s something clinically developmental in this fetish, forgive me for wondering exactly what objectively measurable standards apply to the martial arts statusphere. Separate and apart from who gets to be the Wizard of Oz in our Emerald City, does it puzzle you like me how to reconcile the contours of this phenomenon with the tangible authenticity of Cosmo Alexandre and Malaipet “The Diamond” Sasiprarpa? If nothing else, such stuff as dreams are made on transitions us to what a late cancellation made into the show’s the main event.

All the tricks on a 5 round automatic re-play

There is nothing even remotely episodic about Malaipet’s artistry. It’s like somehow grabbing hold of lightening in a bottle, asking for some tricks, and getting all of them on a five round automatic rewind play list. You will never see anyone more eager to show off his mastery for the fans, as though Donnie Carolei’s Geppetto has finally managed to conjure us a real live Pinocchio with no strings attached.

Malaipet Sasiprapa (Sasiprapa USA in Fresno, California) vs.
Justin Greskiewicz (Stay Fly Muay Thai in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Professional Welterweights, 5×3

This match has “anti-climax” written all over it from Reveille. Off first bell, Greskiewicz walks into a jaw crusher. He goes down hard, gets up slow and looks like a goner. Mike Fischetti would’ve have finished this right then and there. The lightening in Malaipet’s bottle, though, is on a five round automatic rewind play list.

Lion Fight 17

While Mapaipet guns his Indy 500 motor, “the Polish guy” – as a Connecticut beat reporter next to me refers to him – takes a licking but keeps on ticking. There’s a determination in him that just won’t quit.

I think back across the milestones of Justin’s career: from the early rivalry with Mark Deluca; to the pro debut in Jacksonville vs. Mukai Maromo; through the exhaustive permutations for local bragging rights against Turan Hasanov and Eddie Martinez; eventually making his way up the rankings for a title shot with Kevin Ross. I think back also to Brando’s “I could’ve been a contender” lament in “On the Waterfront”. Well guess what? Justin Greskiewicz will never have to lament for Destiny’s Child about could’ve, would’ve, should’ve.

Having punched himself out, Malaipet’s gears begin to grind in the final frame. Greskiewicz mounts a miraculous come-back. By final bell, it’s “the Polish guy” on the hunt. Justin Greskiewicz has learned to dance with the Devil and keep his dignity intact. That’s what this fashion statement of a Purple People Eater has been so busy doing.

Greskiewicz mounts a miraculous come-back.

Winner: Malaipet Sasiprapa by Unanimous Decision: 49-45, 49-45 and 50-44.

In his pro debut at Mayhem on Mulberry Street – shout out to Simon Burgess – Shawn Yarborough tko’d one of my own crew in Terence “Big T” Connor, breaking his jaw on February 9, 2007. It happened also to be the first story I ever covered as a Muay Thai beat reporter. Hello conflict of interest. Just so you know that I’m not shooting blanks about having to make the best of compromise in the exercise of free will.

Ambling down memory lane, here comes déjà vu in Andy Singh from the prequel to this story’s sequel. It was Andy more than anyone else, who preached me the gospel of ‘defense’. This turns out to be a story about the Devil in the details.

Lion Fight 17

Victor Saravia (Muay Thai America Gym in North Hollywood, California)
vs. Andy Singh (Ultimate MMA Academy in New York City)

Professional Super Bantamweights, 5×3

There’s an even better reason I wouldn’t want to score this fire in the hole on the ‘10-Point Must’ system. Metrics default to a caricature in the dynamics of full scale annihilation. You can score points in case of a default, but the burn quotient is indeterminate within this kind of combustion chamber.

Where a game changer seems to go Andy’s way, he manages to cut Saravia in Round 4 near the right eye. This is the potential kill zone for him to work. He goes for it with another elbow. In the chain reaction sequence between these two plutonium hot rods, Victor shoots a right cross into the gap. It lands flush on target. Singh goes down for a count.

Something wicked this way comes

On the score cards, you’ve got to put a number on this. You probably also have to give Saravia the round, if Singh makes it to the bell. There’s just no way to put a number, though, on something wicked this way comes. So put away the score cards. Victor Saravia is one Destiny’s Child – like Shawn Yarborough in the prequel – who doesn’t leave it to the judges.

Winner: Victor Saravia by TKO at 1:42 of Round 4.

The contrarian in me sees a success story in the sequel to Andy Singh’s prequel, exactly because it happens in front of so many loyal fans. It looks to me like more have come to Foxwoods for Andy than from The WAT and Sitan New York combined, despite the Brett Hlavacek vs. Cyrus Washington rematch with Sitan affiliated Rami Ibrahim and Tim Amorin also featured in the show.

Ambling down memory lane, I can remember when Andy was only getting someone else’s crumbs for the bitter taste of humble pie. Although he leaves here also with a bitter taste in his mouth, Andy now operates his own gym that looks – from the attendance – to be commercially successful where there’s sometimes more intense competition for business than in the ring.

So I’m inferring that Andy has been taking care of business, which also takes away precious time and focus from his own career development for the sake of his students. There’s a contrarian case to be made, in other words, that their gain is his pain tonight.

Knowing also that Andy is an immigrant to this country – who had to wait on his Green Card before going out on his own – say hello to the American Dream. None of us earns it, even the natives, without paying our dues. So I’d call Andy’s story a success and will keep an eye open for the next beat generation that he’ll be bringing us. I’d also call what happened here tonight swallowing a bitter pill for the greater good. Survival of the Fittest might appear to be simple, but the Devil is in the details.

One from column 'A' and one from column 'B'

OTHER FEATURED FIGHTS:

Brett Hlavacek (The WAT in New York City) def. Cyrus Washington (Sitan Gym in New York City) by Majority Decision: 48-46, 47-47, and 48-45. Professional Light Heavyweights, 5×3.

Carlos Lopez (Discipline MMA in Sterling, Virginia) def. Rami Ibrahim (Rami Elite in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) by Unanimous Decision: 49-46,49-45 and 50-44. Professional Lightweights, 5×3.

Pedro Gonzalez (Redline Fight Sports in Gloucester, Massachusetts) def. Tim Amorin (Rami Elite in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) by TKO at 1:43 of Round 4. Professional Welterweights, 5×3.

AMATEUR UNDER CARD:

Patrick Rivera (Level Up Boxing in Bowie, Maryland) def. Nathaniel King (Bladefist Muay Thai in New Hyde Park, New York) by Unanimous Decision: 29-28 x 3. Amateur Super Middleweights, 3×2.

Nicole Sclmeme (Strike First Fitness in Smithtown, New York) def. Jessica Palencar (Coalition Fight Team in Inwood, West Virginia) by Unanimous Decision: 30-27,29-28 and 29-28. Amateur Women Featherweights, 3×2.

Bryce Lawrence (Nak Muay Striking in Naples, Florida) def. Stephane Smarth (C3 Athletics in Stamford, Connecticut) by Unanimous Decision: 29-27, 30-26 and 29-27. Amateur Lightweights, 3×2.

Billy Keenan (Redline Fight Sports in Gloucester, Massachusetts) def. Chanon Kuldaree (C3 Athletics in Stamford, Connecticut) by Split Decision: 29-28,27-30 and 29-28. Amateur Super Welterweights, 3×2)

Jared Tipton (Level Up Boxing in Bowie, Maryland) def. Jose Rivera (Hard Knocks Muay Thai in Boston, Massachusetts) by Unanimous Decision: 30-26, 30-25 and 30-27. Amateur Featherweights, 3×2.

CLICK HERE for Rich Villa’s Photo Gallery.

Dan Eric’s Photo Gallery is also a CLICK AWAY.

Lion Fight 17

You Get What You Pay For

Match making can be artless as ordering entrées from a Chinese restaurant’s menu: one from column ‘A’ and one from column ‘B’. It can also be inspired as discovering a hidden treasure in Jo Nattawut. The flip sides of Cosmo Alexandre and Malaipet are undeveloped careers throughout this country that’ll sell into their local gym memberships, until it gets old. Then they’ll fade into obscurity, without ever being able to say truthfully “I could’ve been a contender”.

End Story MarkBecause they’re in business to make money, match makers are motivated by the incentive to earn the patronage of fans in order to sell them tickets. This might seem like a no brainer, but it comes back to whether we the fans prefer Little League to MLB. If our local match maker builds it, would we come?

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New Jersey Martial Arts Hall of Fame Class of 2014

New Jersey Martial Arts Hall of Fame announces the third class of inductees.

New Jersey Martial Arts Hall of Fame 2014 Poster

To see all of the inductees’ biographies and pictures, visit the Website.

This year’s class will be honored at the Induction Dinner Gala to be held at La Quinta Inns & Suites in the Meadowlands Hotel on December 5, 2014.

Tickets to the awards dinner can be purchased by calling 201-538-4843 or online.

Discount hotel room rates at La Quinta can be also obtained by calling 201-863-8700 and mentioning the Hall of Fame dinner.

New Jersey has always been on the forefront of combat sports, and some of the biggest bouts in MMA, kickboxing and Muay Thai history have taken place at various venues around the state.

New Jersey has had a Boxing Hall of Fame since the 1960′s and, in a similar sense, they hope to recognize and honor those involved in combat martial arts such as MMA and Muay Thai. New Jersey is building a rich tradition in non-boxing martial arts.

The goal is to honor those involved with New Jersey martial arts and to celebrate with them, at an evening with family and friends. The focus is on those directly involved in New Jersey martial arts.

“This truly is a historical moment in our State’s combat sports history. Our intent is to have the New Jersey State Martial Arts Hall of Fame continue for many years and serve as a record for those outstanding individuals involved in martial arts in our State.

We hope you will join us on December 5, 2014. Mark your calendars now and purchase your tickets early, so you can be sure to be a part of New Jersey martial arts history. Call 201-538-4843 or visit http://njsmartialartshof.com/ to get your ticket and join us in a historic night for New Jersey and for martial arts. It is certain to be a terrific night with friends, fun, and music.”

CLASS OF 2014 INDUCTEE AWARDS:

Referee – Keith Peterson

Muay Thai Trainer – Tommy Dowd

MMA School Owner – Nick Catone

Prestigious Achievement – Dylan Wanagiel

Muay Thai Fighter – Justin Greskiewicz

Ringside Physician – Dr. Steven Oxler

Pioneer Physician – Dr. Mark Belafsky

Striking Coach – Mark Henry

USA Boxing – Henry Hascup

Event Organizer – Alan Goldberg

Pioneer Fighter – Chris Liguori

MMA Judge – Eric Colon

Administrator – Joan Pierce

Traditional Martial Arts – Karriem Abdallah

MMA Fighter – Dan Miller

Fighter of the year – Chris Weidman

MMA Nutritionist – Mike Dolce

Wrestling Coach – Scott Goodale

Scorekeeper – Ellen Rubin

End Story MarkGrappling – Tom Manelski

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A1 WORLD COMBAT CUP – FINAL 8

A1 World Combat Cup 2014 Poster

A-1 Rules
September 20, 2014
The Netherlands | Holland | Eindhoven

FEDERATIE OOSTERSE GEVECHTSKUNSTEN
Glen Huisman

A1 World Combat Cup 2014 Quarter Finals

SOURCE  FIGHTER LEGION®

Fighter Legion Logo

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Born Warriors L.A. Film Screening

Logo

Born Warriors (Part One) will be screened at the Myanmar Film Festival in Los Angeles on Sunday, September 14th. There will be a special invitation only VIP reception and awards ceremony on Saturday night. The producer Vincent Giordano might have a few tickets for the special Saturday night event and screening, so please check with him if you are going to be in Los Angeles and can attend.

He also has for sale the first Born Warriors promo T-Shirts. Buy information is included at the end of this update.

We will continue to update everyone if anything changes or if there are going to be any further screenings in the Los Angeles area.

If you have any questions, you can email Vincent at [email protected]

Myanmar Film Festival - 1 of 3
Myanmar Film Festival - 2 of 3
Myanmar Film Festival - 3 of 3

T-SHIRTS:

The first Born Warriors promo shirts are now available.

The cost of each shirt is $20 with postage included.

Tee Shirts

To order, send your PayPal payment to: [email protected]
(If you need an invoice, please email Vincent at [email protected], and he will take care of it.)

Please make sure to specify the shirt size or sizes needed and where you want Vincent to mail them. An email will go out when they’re mailed.
Sizes: S M L XL 2XL 3XL

Cinejutsu Entertainment Logo

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Lion Fight XVII – Quick Results

Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Hospitality

Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Hospitality

For the first time in memory, we’ve been able to catch a fight this time of year. Even better, it was a Lion Fight showcasing world class talent in full rules Muay Thai. Does it get any better than views like this at Foxwoods Resort Casino?

Foxwoods Views

Waiting on pics to give you the full story, here’s a summary of what happened between the ropes:

FEATURED FIGHTS:

Malaipet Sasiprapa (Sasiprapa USA in Fresno, California) def. Justin Greskewicz (Stay Fly Muay Thai in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) by Unanimous Decision: 49-45, 49-45 and 50-44. Professional Welterweights, 5×3.

Jo Nattawut (Bangkok Boxing in Atlanta, Georgia) def. Cosmo Alexandre (Blackzillians in Boca Raton, Florida) by Split Decision: 48-47, 47-48, and 48-47. Professional Super Middleweights, 5×3.

Brett Hlavacek (The WAT in New York City def. Cyrus Washington (Sitan Gym in New York City) by Majority Decision: 48-46, 47-47, and 48-45. Professional Light Heavyweights, 5×3.

Carlos Lopez (Discipline MMA in Sterling, Virginia) def. Rami Ibrahim (Rami Elite in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) by Unanimous Decision: 49-46,49-45 and 50-44. Professional Lightweights, 5×3.

Victor Saravia (Muay Thai America Gym in North Hollywood, California) def. Andy Singh (Ultimate MMA Academy in New York City) by TKO at 1:42 of Round 4. (Professional Super Bantamweights, 5×3)

Pedro Gonzalez (Redline Fight Sports in Gloucester, Massachusetts) def. Tim Amorin (Rami Elite in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) by TKO at 1:43 of Round 4. Professional Welterweights, 5×3.

Lake of Isles at Foxwoods Resort Casino

Lake of Isles at Foxwoods Resort Casino

AMATEUR UNDER CARD:

Patrick Rivera (Level Up Boxing in Bowie, Maryland) def. Nathaniel King (Bladefist Muay Thai in New Hyde Park, New York) by Unanimous Decision: 29-28 x 3. Amateur Super Middleweights, 3×2.

Nicole Sclmeme (Strike First Fitness in Smithtown, New York) def. Jessica Palencar (Coalition Fight Team in Inwood, West Virginia) by Unanimous Decision: 30-27,29-28 and 29-28. Amateur Women Featherweights, 3×2.

Bryce Lawrence (Nak Muay Striking in Naples, Florida) def. Stephane Smarth (C3 Athletics in Stamford, Connecticut) by Unanimous Decision: 29-27, 30-26 and 29-27. Amateur Lightweights, 3×2.

Billy Keenan (Redline Fight Sports in Gloucester, Massachusetts) def. Chanon Kuldaree (C3 Athletics in Stamford, Connecticut) by Split Decision: 29-28,27-30 and 29-28. Amateur Super Welterweights, 3×2)

Jared Tipton (Level Up Boxing in Bowie, Maryland) def. Jose Rivera (Hard Knocks Muay Thai in Boston, Massachusetts) by Unanimous Decision: 30-26, 30-25 and 30-27. Amateur Featherweights, 3×2.

Two Trees Inn at Foxwoods Resort Casino

Two Trees Inn at Foxwoods Resort Casino

Different strokes for different folks, this might be the kind of place for you to get away while catching the best full rules Muay Thai in America.

Spa & Pool on Left │ Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Museum on Right

Spa & Pool on Left │ Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Museum on Right

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Por Kru Day in England

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Krabi Karbong Thai Sword Fighting demo at Sitsiam Camp in Manchester, England: http://youtu.be/0hnbgEGFYiY.

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Matt Lucas’ “The Boxer’s Soliloquy”, A Muay Thai Novel

The Boxer's Soliloquy by Matt Lucas

The new collection of fifteen interconnected short stories “The Boxer’s Soliloquy” by Matt Lucas follows the lives of Muay Thai boxers as they experience the glory and the blows of Thailand’s most famous martial art. These are the stories of punches thrown, of kicks landed, of cutting elbows, and knock out knees. Written with a direct and spare style this novel is available not only as a paperback but also as an ebook through nook, kindle, and itunes.

Rob Cox, Muay Thai Sports Journalist says that “Matt has hit the nail squarely on the head with his depictions of the life of a foreign fighter in Thailand, writing with an authenticity that could only come from someone that has experienced it first hand. It makes for a very engaging and entertaining read!”

Kevin Ross, WBC Muay Thai Super Lightweight Champion, writes, “I was immediately drawn into Boxer’s Soliloquy. Matt has a way with words that brings you up close and personal with all of the characters. You can imagine yourself right there with them.”

Matt Lucas is a veteran of Rajadamern Stadium in Bangkok, along with many other locations both in the United States and Thailand. He is a frequent contributor to the popular Muay Thai blog, MyMuayThai.com, and trains out of Pacific Ring Sports in Oakland under the guidance of Mike Regnier and Ganyao Arunleung.

For media inquiries contact Matt Lucas at: [email protected]

Print copies of the novel can be found at:

Amazon

Createspace

Ebooks are available at:

Kindle

iBooks

Nook

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The Empire Strikes Back

Marcus vs. Schilling

With the UFC’s wind beneath Its Wings, Lion Fight has launched a retaliatory strike against Glory’s campaign to vanquish American independence. Whilst blood spills by the barrel all around us from wounds that trace to Europe’s colonial legacy, who’d have thought they’d ever be back on American soil? Well think again.

Here comes a European juggernaut in Glory Sports International (GSI). It is registered in Singapore and aims for world domination in what you’ve known until now as K-1 Kickboxing. Like so many other world beaters, GSI has set about to corner the (human) resource market for “products” to brand with its own Glory logo.

Hollenbeck vs, Chu

Don’t take my word for it. Here’s the smoking gun: Scott Rudmann, Managing Partner of Nectar Capital said: “We are delighted to have acted as corporate finance advisor to Glory Sports International…[to] effectively place all of the world’s top kickboxing athletes under the same promotional umbrella and solidify GLORY and the Glory World Series as the unquestioned world leader with the number one kickboxing series… there can be no doubt that the GLORY franchise is on its way to becoming one of the largest new sport leagues in the world and that it has quickly come to dominate global kickboxing.” Never mind who’s supposed to develop the next beat generation with the chump change that’s left over?

Lion Fight Promotions presents Battle in the Desert 7 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mandatory Credit: Ray Kasprowicz-WWW.ULTRAVISTA.COM

How better to conjure an industrial strength “sports content and branding solution” than by claim jumping the entire world’s (athletic) resource market in order to lock down Kickboxing’s “content IP rights holders”? Take GSI’s North American property portfolio (talent pool) in its entirety.

It was Scott Kent’s Lion Fight series, where the rivalry between Joe Schilling and Simon Marcus made national headlines. “Bazooka” Joe Valtellini fought Gregory Choplin in Scott’s ring, where Ky Hollenbeck was once a regular. Simon Marcus even did battle there with GSI’s Russian star Artyom Levin.

Marcus vs. Levin

Glory Sports International developed none of these careers. U.S. career developers like Scott Kent did all of the heavy lifting, along with Montri Supanich and Anthony Lin in California, as well as Justin Blair and Aziz Nabih in New York City. It was there that Wayne Barrett and Gabriel Varga also did their apprenticeships.

So maybe it was just a coincidence that America’s top fight impresario Dana White put Lion Fight XVI on the calendar for UFC Fight Week and scheduled the show for America’s 238th birthday. It might even have been a coincidence for the show to feature two “name brand” mixed martial artists going bada bing bada boom in full rules Muay Thai. Then again a case could be made for The Empire Strikes Back. [EDITOR]

Show Coverage by Brian O’Hara. Photography by Ray Kasprowicz.

Las Vegas, NV – LION FIGHT 16 ignited an explosion of spectacular Muay Thai action inside the Pearl, at Palms Casino Resort on July 4th, 2014. The excitement was not limited to fireworks over Las Vegas Boulevard, as the premier Las Vegas based promotion featured a super lightweight championship fight between Muay Thai Champion, Kevin Ross, and Australia’s Muay Thai prodigy, Michael “Tomahawk” Thompson.

Lion Fight Super Lightweight Championship
Kevin Ross (U.S.A.) vs. Michael Thompson (Australia)
:

The crowd erupted as the two fighters exchanged blows for a full five rounds of hard-hitting combat entertainment. Although Thompson proved his toughness, it was Ross who dictated the pace of the championship bout.

It was Ross (left) who dictated the pace of the championship bout.  Photo by Ray Kasprowicz.

It was Ross (left) who dictated the pace of the championship bout. Photo by Ray Kasprowicz.

Ross punished Thompson round after round with a mix of blows to his opponents head and midsection. During the closing seconds of the last round, Ross almost put his challenger away with a well-executed flying knee that crashed into Thompson’s face. The crowd erupted as Thompson was visibly hurt. Rattled and defeated, Thompson held on in the clinch to survive the round, despite losing the title bout.

Kevin Ross def. Michael Thompson by Unanimous Decision: 50-45, 49-46, 49-46 for the Lion Fight Super Lightweight Championship, Professional 142 lbs. Men. 5 x 3 Rounds.

Tiffany Van Soest (U.S.A.) vs. Sindy Huyer (Italy):

In the co-main event, former LION FIGHT featherweight champion Tiffany Van Soest squared off against Italy’s Sindy Huyer. The opening round could have gone to either fighter, but it was Van Soest who turned the heat up on her opponent inside the ring for the remainder of the fight.

Van Soest (left) battered her game Italian opponent.  Photo by Ray Kasprowicz.

Van Soest (left) battered her game Italian opponent. Photo by Ray Kasprowicz.

Van Soest battered her game Italian opponent, while winning the following four rounds. A percussion of excitement ripped through the venue when the American standout, Van Soest, landed a jaw-shattering front-kick that stopped Huyer in her tracks. Stunned and vulnerable, Huyer seemed to be out on her feet when she absorbed a final left hook, which caused referee Kamijo to jump in and call a halt to the punishment.

Tiffany Van Soest def. Sindy Huyer by TKO (Front Kick to Face) at 0:56 of Round 5. Professional 125 lbs. Women. 5 x 3 Rounds.

Rungravee Banchaemek Sasiprapa (Kingdom of Thailand) vs. Adrian Morilla (U.S.A.):

The night also included Thailand’s superstar, Rungravee Banchaemek Sasiprapa, who made his American debut with LION FIGHT promotion that evening against Adrian Morilla. The bout lived up to the billing as a special attraction fan superfight when Sasiprapa showed of his skill set from bell to bell.

Rungravee Banchaemek Sasiprapa got the better of the exchanges.  Photo by Ray Kasprowicz.

Rungravee Banchaemek Sasiprapa got the better of the exchanges. Photo by Ray Kasprowicz.

Morilla put forward a valiant effort, however he could not prevent getting stalked down by his veteran opponent round after round. Sasiprapa got the better of the exchanges during all five rounds to earn a split-decision victory.

Rungravee Banchæmek Sasiprapa def. Adrian Morilla by Split Decision: 48-47, 49-46, 49-45. Professional 132 lbs. Men. 5 x 3 Rounds.

Tyler Toner (U.S.A.) vs. Gaston Bolanos (Peru):

Main card action also included an explosive bout between Tyler Toner who took on Gaston Bolanos. It was a short night of work for Bolanos, who rocked Toner early with a spinning-back-elbow. Toner, under the tutelage of Duane Ludwig, grabbed Bolanos in the clinch in an attempt to recover from being swarmed with more blows. During the tie up, Toner’s right eye was split open when Bolanos fired off two compact elbows.

Bolanos vs. Toner

After being checked by the ringside doctor and allowed to continue, Toner was battered with a series of cracking knees to the stomach and legs from the clinch. Also bleeding from the nose and mouth, Bolanos smashed a right hand against Toner’s face toward the end of the round. Toner’s corner had seen enough and stepped in to stop the fight, thereby awarding Bolanos a TKO victory at the end of the first round.

Gaston Bolanos def. Tyler Toner by TKO (Corner Stoppage: Eye, Nose) at 3:00 of Round 1. Professional 142 lbs. Men. 5 x 3 Rounds.

Casey Parlett (San Diego, California) vs. Josh Shepard (Las Vegas, Nevada):

The main card began with a five round blast of action between Casey Parlett and Josh Shepard. It was Parlett who came on strong early, when he got Shepard’s attention with a banging right hand, which momentarily dazed his opponent.

Parlett went on to take the first two rounds, but the local Las Vegas fighter, Shepard, retorted with heavy strikes to win the middle two rounds.

Parlett vs. Shepard

The bout came down to the final round. Both men exchanged rapid shots in a winner takes-all situation. In the end, the judges saw it in favor of Parlett, who took home the split-decision victory.

Casey Parlett def. Josh Shepard by Split Decision: 48-46, 49-45, 46-48. Professional 160 lbs. Men. 5 x 3 Rounds.

See Ray Kasprowicz’s Photo Gallery HERE.

Bennie E. Palmore II’s entire Photo Gallery is also a CLICK away.

LION FIGHT XVI delivered a blowout of Muay Thai excitement on Independence Day from the Fight Capitol of the World. Despite GSI’s claim jumping so many North American properties, Scott Kent’s All-American resourcefulness continues to develop spectacular talent on our own native soil.

Josh Shepard (right) vs. Casey Parlett.  Photo by Ray Kasprowicz.

Josh Shepard (right) vs. Casey Parlett. Photo by Ray Kasprowicz.

It turns out that indigenous is integral to this enterprise through its affiliation with USMTA, which began as the Native American League. No big surprise, then, that the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation hosts the Eastern edition of Scott Kent’s Lion Fight series.

End Story MarkFans are looking forward to the next installment of America’s premier Muay Thai showcase at Foxwoods Resort Casino in the Northeast Corridor about midway between Beantown and the Big Apple on August the 1st. It airs live on AXS TV starting at a special time, 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. We’ll give you a report in our next edition.

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Starship Glory’s Orbit Towards Oblivion

”Bazooka” Joe Valtellini, right, vs. Marc de Bonte at Glory 17 in L.A. on June 21, 2014

”Bazooka” Joe Valtellini, right, vs. Marc de Bonte at Glory 17 in L.A. on June 21, 2014

Let me see a show of hands. How many of you are hard core into stand-up and hail Glory Sports International’s (GSI) campaign to deliver us to the Promised Land? Well guess what? You just flunked Capitalism 101.

Glory LogoThe triple threat that’s vowed “to dominate global kickboxing” – Pierre Andurand (a hedge fund manager heavy into trading commodities), Marcus Luer (Total Sports Asia’s world beater in sports content and branding solutions) and Andrew Whitaker (Kings Highway Media’s erstwhile Managing Partner in a brand and media distribution advisory) – actually includes a fourth swashbuckler. There is also Nectar Capital’s Scott Rudman. He brokers deals, like GSI’s funding to acquire “It’s Showtime”. He has also stayed on board to police the deployment of his equity stake. (09 07 12 // Glory Sports International Pte. acquires Kickboxing Competitor ‘It’s Showtime’ at http://nectarcapital.com/glory-sports-international-pte-acquires-kickboxing-competitor-its-showtime/#09-07-12)

Wayne Barrett (airborne) vs. Joe Schilling at Glory 17 in L.A. on June 21, 2014

Wayne Barrett (airborne) vs. Joe Schilling at Glory 17 in L.A. on June 21, 2014

Exactly what kind of corporate mission do you suppose these operators in the sports entertainment business aim to accomplish? No matter what agenda they’ve been selling (understandably) for public consumption, here’s the bold print on their investment prospectus. They’re pledged to “serve the content IP rights holders, private equity and venture capital space”. (Board of Director Bios)

Truth or consequences, Glory Sports International brings us the working capital this sport so desperately needs but has missed since K-1 went flat line. So we’re all down with the pursuit of happiness that their money can buy us. Lest we forget, though, there is no such thing as a free lunch. So we’ve also got to read the fine print in GSI’s pitch, which is supposed to make its patrons rich(er).

Where none before have been able to conjure the Midas touch in stand-up, GSI’s Managing Director Marcus Luer tells BJ Penn “The problem has always been lack of funding…The money behind it hasn’t been there because there hasn’t been enough television, funding, and advertising in place to make those events happen and to pay that money out.” Judge for yourself what kind of omen it is for a sports content and branding solutions guru to omit live gates from his bucket list in a business that until now has lived or died at the box office.

Joe Schilling (right) vs. Simon Marcus at Glory 17 in L.A. on June 21, 2014

Joe Schilling (right) vs. Simon Marcus at Glory 17 in L.A. on June 21, 2014

Reports of twofers reaching us from L.A. (Glory 17) – on top of what we know to have been gratuitous freebie ticket offers in NYC (Glory 12) possibly from a panic attack – disguise wonder in this thunder of so much public chest thumping. By way of comparison, Dana White tells Yahoo! Sports that the paid gate at UFC 175 in Las Vegas just a couple of weeks ago was estimated to surpass $5 million. What whiz kid worth his MBA skips the part about paying customers?

Ask not for whom the bell tolls in any sports entertainment business. It tolls for popularity pure and simple. While Spike TV might be the best available broadcast platform for Glory Sports International to get there, the metric of viewership factors into how much advertisers will pay and how the subscription cable network will split the proceeds with a content provider. Since this is the aim of a Total Sports Asia’s ad salesman’s game, let’s go to the score cards.

Viewership averages 459,000 for GSI’s U.S. shows. This pegs it around ⅔ of Bellator’s 712,222 benchmark but perennially troubled brand on the identical broadcast platform during the same time span. From Chicago’s (Glory 11) ground zero rollout, tv ratings seems to have peaked at 498,000 in Denver (Glory 16). They then fell back into a 483,000 groove with the collateral damage of leaving only a Russian man standing in the L.A. ring at Glory 17, plus two Canadians.

Gabriel Varga (right) vs. Shane Oblonsky at Glory 17 in L.A. on June 21, 2014

Gabriel Varga (right) vs. Shane Oblonsky at Glory 17 in L.A. on June 21, 2014

So GSI’s audience metrics are calendar comparable to the UFC’s 457,857 average, only those are pay-per-views (ppv’s). In the campaign to monetize whatever popularity its $millions have bought, Glory’s “Last Man Standing” Grand Prix middleweight elimination tournament sold an estimated 6,000 ppv’s. “According to Dave Meltzer from this week’s edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter…the PPV ‘bombed’.” (“GLORY Last Man Standing PPV Sales Disappoint” by Dave Walsh on LiverKick.com) Having already given up the gate, weak impulse control now seems also to be giving up the ghost.

Any commercial strategy that amounts to strip mining the top off of our sport’s popularity potential – until it hits a plateau below the surface – is destined to produce a lot of rubbish. How stoked are you for a Joe “Stitch ‘Em Up” Schilling rubber match with Artyom Levin or Wayne Barrett? The truth or consequences of this killer strategy is nothing more than koombaya with sugar coating. Execution means getting the job done, which appears to be a stretch for someone inhaling his own fumes.

Chris Weidman (left) vs. Anderson Silva at UFC 168 in Las Vegas on December 28, 2013

Chris Weidman (left) vs. Anderson Silva at UFC 168 in Las Vegas on December 28, 2013

What does Dana White know that informs his own success in the sports entertainment business? He knows what the numbers mean and how they tell him what the fans want. Toss out a single outlier in UFC 168 and his ppv average goes from 457,857 to 363,333. That’s because Weidman vs. Silva II got 1,025,000 ppv’s on December 28, 2013. This is a business that prospers from the goose that lays golden eggs. Who in his right mind would put Floyd Mayweather in a Grand Prix elimination tournament?

Short of folding up its tent, Glory Sports International has to parachute into venues where it can fill a house with paying customers. If that means some local pay-to-play, so be it. Don’t stage a show that can’t pay the rent. How hard is this?

I can recall Ky Hollenback forfeiting a WMC world title shot at 160 lbs. because he couldn’t shed the weight. Climbing through the ropes at Glory 17, he looked to me like a shadow of himself at 153 lbs. Whoever is piloting Starship Glory has to learn impulse control. It would probably be a good idea, also, to take a refresher course in risk/reward tradeoffs.

Andy Ristie (left) vs. Ky Hollenbeck at Glory 17 in L.A. on June 21, 2014

Andy Ristie (left) vs. Ky Hollenbeck at Glory 17 in L.A. on June 21, 2014

A pretty convincing case could be made for mission control to stop inhaling its own fumes and to learn from its mistakes. This means toning down the gimmicks and novelties, like Grand Prix elimination tournaments. Where GSI has already bought a hot rivalry – say Joe “Stich ‘Em Up” Schilling vs. Simon Marcus or Wayne Barrett or Artyom Levin – it makes a whole lot more sense to prolong the shelf life instead gambling everything on 6,000 ppv’s. This is just plain bad merchandising.

Locking the barn door after the (middleweight) cow has already gone to pasture probably isn’t going to fill any milk pails. Fresh prospects will come along, though, from career developers without whom GSI would be shooting blanks. It’s going to take more patience than GSI has so far shown for athletes to win over enough fans to begin moving tv ratings back up the growth curve. This is what they’ve got to watch like it’s a deal breaker, because it is.

Joe Schilling (right) vs. Artyom Levin at Glory 17 in L.A. on June 21, 2014

Joe Schilling (right) vs. Artyom Levin at Glory 17 in L.A. on June 21, 2014

They’ve also got to refrain from any temptation to cheat the scale with cheese in the milk pail. Don’t play fans for suckers, because guaranteed we’re going to take their measure. (See “Epitaph for Sanity in a Sport’s Fairy Tale”?) If fans think the game is rigged, it’s going to be sayonara señorita might as well pivot to WWE.

No matter how many horses you can put under a hood, they can’t pull the buggy if the ignition switch doesn’t work. (“Why did GM take so long to respond to deadly defect? Corporate culture may hold answer.” by Michael A. Fletcher and Steven Mufson in The Washington Post on March 30, 2014) Authenticity is job #1 for “sports content and branding solutions” that’s got any realistic prospect of paying dividends for whom the bell tolls.

There is an art to match making. It’s obviously going be done better by a pro than an ad salesman. Hire the right guy for a job this important. Get rid of anyone who thinks that throwing money at a problem is sufficient to solve it. The whole idea is to reverse the direction of cash flow down out the door. No business succeeds by pissing away all of its working capital.

Throwing in the towel now would be snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. A good corner man would tell this wounded warrior to stop swinging wildly and grind it out. Even though sunk costs aren’t recoverable, stock should be bought on the basis of future earnings prospects. That’s why GSI’s patrons went into this and – for an exorbitant tuition in the school of hard knocks – they’ve proved that it is entirely possible.

End Story MarkGlory Sports International has only itself to blame for getting backed into the corner. It is incumbent on these world beaters now to show the heart to fight their way out and pile up some points with time still on the clock. Otherwise they really deserve to fail. Getting it right is the only possible way they can earn a return on their investment. Our photographer, Dan Eric, can be contacted at [email protected].

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Epitaph for Sanity in a Sport’s Fairy Tale

If you’re wired into tech toys, then you’re not just a fan of the fights. You’re also a fan of technological innovation. The latest epitaph for sanity in corporate fairy tales is ‘Disruptive Innovation’. We think of mixed martial arts (mma) as an ‘innovation’, for example, that’s been ‘disruptive’ of boxing. Never mind boxing dug its own grave for mma to dance on it.

Glory LogoNow we’re seeing Glory Sports International (GSI) stand up to ‘innovation’ with a campaign for ‘disruption’ of the UFC’s choke hold on brand recognition. If this sounds more WSJ than ESPN, take a peek at the wizardry behind the curtain in Singapore’s Emerald City.

In order to get there, let’s drill down a little on the joys of your tech toys. I can remember working in a Wall Street bullpen, when Mabon Nugent’s tech analyst announced the invention of cellular phone technology. If ever there was a wormhole – when something new showed up in the universe that hadn’t existed before – what better coordinates could you lock in for a trip “Back to the Future”?

What actually happened amongst the rank and file with that announcement: there was like a universal “Huh?” With 20/20 hindsight, I also remember that the same tech analyst had one of those first generation Apple® Macs he used to play with. Everyone thought “what’s that all about?” Get the picture? Don’t expect to see the future in your rear view mirror.

There isn’t a hot shot trader or hedge fund manager anywhere who could survive a round with Steve Jobs. Never mind Steve Jobs didn’t invent the wheel. He just saw the possibilities for Formula I Grand Prix Racing.

So here’s the message in this media: ‘disruptive’ is no more of a doppelgänger for ‘innovation’ than progress is the only ripple in the eternal current of change, unless you endorse climate change by the progress of sea level rise. (“What the Theory of ‘Disruptive Innovation’ Gets Wrong” by Jill Lepore in The New Yorker on June 23, 2014) Just as change isn’t always for the better, neither should ‘disruptive’ warrant clemency for being the necessary evil of ‘innovation’. If the gain ain’t worth the pain, don’t even go there.

UFCWe were breaking each other’s faces on this planet long before Steve Jobs didn’t invent the wheel. All that’s new about mixed martial arts was Nick Lembo figuring out how to make it politically correct. Then and only then did the UFC come up with a toy for the new beat generation to enjoy.

Now we’re ready to peek behind the curtain at the wizardry in Singapore’s Emerald City. Full disclosure: the hyperlink to an ESPN url is a WSJ key word. “In 2011, multi-award winning hedge fund investor and martial arts enthusiast Pierre Andurand along with well-known media investor and asset manager Scott Rudmann and Marcus Luer, CEO of sports marketing agency Total Sports Asia (TSA), became the catalysts for the formation of Glory Sports International…In his role as Managing Director, Marcus taps into his 18 years of experience across the global sports marketing world and brings the core skills of TSA: Asia’s global leader in sports content and branding solutions.” (Board of Director Bios)

The Wrestler

Bet you never thought that prize fighters could be commodified into investment properties like such erstwhile best-selling brands as Hulk Hogan, Randy “Macho Man” Savage and André the Giant. Herein lurks a temptation to bake artificial flavors into meals on wheels the better to own every stall in the mall across the entire planet.

There’ve been some sketchy episodes in GSI’s entertaining new series, where certain plots seem tuned to the kind of wishful thinking that’s sometimes contiguous to the realm of scripting. A case in point was Glory 9, where NYC fans got a taste of FIFA officiating at its worst, which is ground zero in why soccer isn’t main stream here. What fans took away from this was that Tyrone Spong seemed to have been spared having to earn his Grand Prix tournament win over Danyo Ilunga – with the plot twisting on a foreign ref – who’d been imported for a job that a local like Chris Wagner obviously does a whole lot better. (See “How to Kill a Sport” by Mark Jacobs)

Tyrone Spong vs. Danyo Ilunga at Glory 9 in New York City on 06-22-2013

Tyrone Spong vs. Danyo Ilunga at Glory 9 in New York City on 06-22-2013

It just so happens that Glory Sports International operates outside of the law – meaning outside of regulatory jurisdiction – in both New York and California. You can blame your politicians for this, but exactly who the hires them to endorse WKA in New York and ISKA in California for the pursuit of happiness on a metric of customer satisfaction? When an industry like this regulates itself, shareholders decide which customer has to be satisfied. Fans and fighters both, thus, are effectively traded like derivatives on an unregulated exchange.

ISKA LogoFollowing the weigh-in, I once attended a rules meeting inadvertently for officials at an ISKA sanctioned show in Chicago. What made it memorable was the hidden handicap: “When in doubt, give it to the home team”. You can interpret “home team” to mean whoever’s paying a for-profit’s “sanctioning” fees. Whatever it takes to satisfy such a customer is a matter of “sports content and branding solutions” to solve the profitability puzzle as GSI alone defines it.

Orbiting outside of public policy’s gravitational pull, you’d expect market incentives to lift off Starship Glory’s rocket thrust in live gates, paid subscriptions and Spike TV viewership. A 3% loss of altitude over L.A. (Glory 17) discerned this truth in the consequences: “The fact it was slightly off from its last outing could be a concern. Mirko Cro Cop appeared on the prelim portion here which provided name recognition to hopefully garner viewers.” (Jason Cruz in mmapayout.com on June 24, 2014) So there was enough riding for Starship Glory on Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic to merit a corporate urine sample on the possibility of performance enhancement.

Viewers around the world saw Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller’s knees crumble “Cro Cop” repeatedly. Time and again, Brooklyn’s “Big Baby” had the Croatian in trouble. Only the ref “Big” John McCarthy nullified all of them, as did apparently the judges, all of whom ultimately were on GSI’s payroll by way of ISKA.

Now it’s more rule than exception for a ref to give the benefit of the doubt to close calls in the foul zone. Never mind we’ve got different rules than boxing about below the belt, basically because of the low kick. So McCarthy exercised his prerogative to give “Cro Cop” safe passage out of harm’s way from Miller’s first two borderline yellow cards, even though very few males of our species bounce back that fast from genuine ball busters.

If two’s company, the third wasn’t even close. It was bull’s eye on Mirko’s solar plexus. See for yourself.

Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller vs. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic at Glory 17 in L.A. on 06-21-2014

Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller vs. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic at Glory 17 in L.A. on 06-21-2014

“Cro Cop” was in visible trouble. He could have been down and out in L.A. had the ref kept his finger off the scale. Instead of a count and mandatory point deduction for GSI’s tv ratings mascot – which almost certainly would’ve made a difference in the verdict – “Big” John McCarthy declared yet another cease fire. Even though the re-play made manifest this mistake, the network’s talking heads were like soccer commentators: much too eager to go with the flow.

The whole point about knees in this sport is that they’re supposed to matter. So we’ve now got to wonder whether a veteran mma ref blew it, or was he caught up in a corporate culture (like General Motors) that preaches the practice of following the herd? (“Why did GM take so long to respond to deadly defect? Corporate culture may hold answer.” by Michael A. Fletcher and Steven Mufson in The Washington Post on March 30, 2014) Competitive sports just aren’t a natural fit for contrived content and branding solutions.

Big John McCarthy

In the Land of Oz, it seems like all roads lead to Emerald City. Culture doesn’t get any more vulture in the battle of the brands, though, than for ownership of the toy with most joy throughout all of the stalls in the mall. Try digesting these meals on wheels:

“The international sports wagering market is about one trillion — does one trillion of business a year. The Asian markets alone, they have more transactions, sports bets on a daily basis than the New York Stock Exchange goes through.”

Soccer has been tainted in the past by evidence of match fixing…The European Union’s police agency, Europol, said an 18-month investigation turned up 680 matches suspected of being fixed across the globe…The probe cited links to criminal networks, including a Singapore-based crime syndicate.”

“According to Europol’s investigation…the syndicates — and the focus here is on a Singapore-based crime syndicate — they hire runners. The runners go out and make contact with a player, an official, perhaps a team official of the club that they have targeted…[They] fix a game, and then put down a lot of bets on it…The head of Europol said that it’s so large, at such a grand scale, that it threatens the very fabric of the game.” (“For Global Soccer, Scandal and Corruption Seem Pervasive as Grass Stains” in PBS Newshour broadcast on February 15, 2013)

Soccer

While soccer fans seem so far unperturbed by evidence of artificial flavoring in their meals on wheels, boxing’s sordid experience with content and branding solutions pretty much dropped it off America’s hit parade. Soccer and kickboxing both now yearn to go main stream in the world’s richest sports market. Gullible though we are in the voting booth, American consumers are wily coyotes.

End Story MarkNo one succeeds in this mall, who doesn’t heed common sense: “You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool ALL of the people ALL of the time.” (From: “A Lincoln Album: Readings by Carl Sandburg.” Caedmon TC 2015, 2 LP set, (c) 1957, last 2:25 of Side 1.) Outsourcing public policy to circumvent the regulation of athletics is like gambling in casinos outside the jurisdiction of gaming commissions. Caveat EmptorLet the buyer beware.

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