The 488,000 figure provided by Spike TV places the broadcast at #5 in the list of most-viewed GLORY broadcasts on the network.
Preceding event GLORY 20 DUBAI had scored a rather disappointing 359,000 average, probably due to airing on tape-delay from the Middle East. The rating for GLORY 21 represents a 35% increase.
The GLORY 21 SAN DIEGO card was headlined by Artem Levin and Simon Marcus in a middleweight title showdown, a world-class match which was hugely anticipated by the hardcore kickboxing fraternity.
Balancing that out for fun-factor was a four-man Heavyweight Qualification Tournament which featured four new-blood heavyweights battling it out for a spot in the next Heavyweight Contender Tournament.
Xavier Vigney won the tournament with two stoppage wins but the PR game was undoubtedly won by British motor mouth Chi Lewis-Parry. His trash-talk game, modeled on the likes of Tito Ortiz and Chael Sonnen, meant that he won the lion’s share of pre-event headlines and generated a lot of copy in his own right.
The co-main event was Raymond ‘Real Deal’ Daniels and it is very possible Daniels was the prime factor in the ratings jump. Since his stoppage of Francois Ambang at GLORY 16 DENVER he has started to become known as a highlight-KO specialist and his unique style of fighting is of high interest to casual and hardcore fans alike.
Finding the balance between casual appeal and hardcore credibility is a key issue for any sports-entertainment promoter and GLORY has been playing with format and formula as it seeks to find that sweet spot.
Another key consideration is repeat appearances. Daniels has featured on Spike TV recently and so has Marcus; fans need to be exposed to fighters repeatedly if they are going to get to know them and get behind them.
Injury and schedule permitting, GLORY should seek to ensure Daniels and Marcus both appear on cards in the near future. At least one of them should be fit for August’s yet-to-be announced event.
According to sources, GLORY’s hands are tied when it comes to tournaments, with Spike TV insisting that each card carries one. Personally I think that this is a mistake and that the organization should be free to stage tournaments on some cards and not others, to allow more flexibility in the matchmaking and thus fine-tune that casual/hardcore appeal balance ever further.
Still, the tournament on the next card – GLORY 22 FRANCE on Friday June 5 – is outstanding. The four-man Lightweight Contender Tournament features Josh Jauncey vs. Niclas Larsen and former champion Davit Kiria vs. Thai champion Sitthichai, with the tournament winner earning a title shot.
Kiria has featured on Spike TV several times before and is known for a high-pace all-action style, so hopefully he will carry some weight. Jauncey is making his Spike debut but has impressed in his Superfight Series performances and generated some chatter. Larsen has star potential and Sitthichai is a huge hit with the hardcores already.
In the GLORY 22 FRANCE main event, heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven defends the belt against Romanian contender Benjamin Adegbuyi. The co-main has Zack Mwekassa against Carlos Brooks; Mwekassa has scored two big knockouts in his Spike appearances, one over Pat Barry, while Brooks is a light-heavyweight veteran of Chuck Norris’ World Combat League with a Daniels-esque karate style.
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