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®

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Born Warriors L.A. Film Screening

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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

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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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“Born Warriors” Documentary Release

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Announcing the release of an upcoming documentary “Born Warriors”.

The first part covers the art of Lethwei or bare-knuckle fighting before the opening of Burma (a/k/a Myanmar).

A series of outtakes has already been released as “The Physical Body”. They proved to be popular. So it was decided to repeat the process and release the outtakes earlier rather than wait until after the DVD was out.

Fight Photo

There is a possibility of securing a spot for “Born Warriors” in the forthcoming Myanmar (Burma) Film Festival to be held in Los Angeles in mid-September. If this falls through, the producer plans to organize Vanishing Flame screenings and immediately bring out the final DVD. If the documentary makes it into the festival, we will announce the times and dates of the screenings as soon as we know them. If the film makes it to Los Angeles, further screenings will be scheduled.

The DVD release itself will probably be a two DVD set:

Disc One:

“Born Warriors” – Documentary

“Born to Battle: Burma vs. Thailand”
(A new edit of the previous Vanishing-Flame-only release)

Training and Training Methods
A cross section of the producer’s visits and training with different teachers, classes, and training camps during the period when the original “Born Warriors” was shot.

Lethwei Wei

Disc Two:

“Born Warriors Redux” – documentary
An update on the sport of Lethwei since the country opened.

Training and Training Methods
A visit with eight of the current top training camps to see how the camps and training methods have evolved and what is currently being taught.

This is the current plan but things can and do change. The original plan was for a single-disc DVD release, but the producer believes that the two DVD set will give the full coverage that is needed. He is raising funds now for the DVD’s completion as well as for the next trip into Burma to complete a forthcoming DVD on Burmese Martial Arts. The release of this next DVD on Burmese Martial Arts will probably follow the same DVD format and structure.

The next Vanishing Flame newsletter, “# 43: Burma Redux”, will cover the last Burma trip, the shooting of the new DVD and all the trouble that erupted during the filming. If you are not on the Vanishing Flame list, you can send an email to [email protected] and ask to be added.

Vanishing Flame members get all the DVDS first through pre-buy ordering and are alerted to any release information first including screenings and seminars at discounted rates.

Below is the first series of promo outtakes released. Since the documentary was shot over a long period of time, the shooting format and camera systems changed, for example from MiniDV tape to shooting on P2 cards to finally HD and beyond. So the producer tried to preserve the original format without altering it. The new footage is all in HD and will be presented that way.

Burmese Boxing Vimeo Channel:

https://vimeo.com/channels/760989

Born Warriors Promo Teaser:

https://vimeo.com/95872431

Born Warriors Outtakes Part 1:

https://vimeo.com/97780010

Born Warriors Outtakes Part 2:

https://vimeo.com/97781817

Born Warriors Outtakes Part 3:

https://vimeo.com/101196215

Born Warriors Outtakes Part 4:

https://vimeo.com/101198711

Born Warriors Outtakes Part 5:

https://vimeo.com/101584004

End Story MarkThere will be a set of youtube.com links going up soon, along with the new burmeseboxing.com site when it is ready.

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Enfusion.tv Schedules ‘Victory of the Vixen’ for September in Thailand

In Season 5 on Enfusion.tv, our own Tiffany Van Soest will compete with the ladies for “Victory of the Vixen” from Superpro Samui Resort Koh Samui in Thailand. It’s scheduled for September 2014.

Tiffany Van Soest (Left) vs. Vivian Leung.  Photo by Ray Kasprowicz.

Tiffany Van Soest (Left) vs. Vivian Leung. Photo by Ray Kasprowicz.

Here is the FULL LINE-UP:

1. Fatima Pinto (Norway)

2. Johanna Rydberg (Sweden)

3. Ferial Ameerroedien (South Africa)

4. Meryem Uslu (Germany)

5. Germain Yeap (Malaysia)

6. Samantha van Doorn (The Netherlands)

7. Soraya Haurisa (Indonesia)

8. Isis Verbeek (The Netherlands)

9. Marina Zueva (Russia)

10. Filipa Correia (Portugal)

11. Adi Rotem (Israel)

12. Tiffany van Soest (USA)

13. Iman Barlow (England)

14. Ashley Nicolas (Canada)

15. Lizzie Largeilliere (France)

16. Sam Nanu Brown (Australia)

17. Maria Pantazi (Greece)

18. Simone Van Dommelen (The Netherlands)

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Tune into Enfusion.tv for the latest program information.

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