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The Exclusive MMA Opinion Interview with Marcus Luer, GLORY World Series Managing Director
If you like kickboxing, the GLORY World Series has become THE Premiere League in a very short order. In July 2012, GLORY acquired the iconic European organization ‘It’s Showtime’ and absorbed its roster of fighters. The deal brought all the world’s top-ranked kickboxers under one roof, making possible the kind of matches which fans could previously only dream of and ushering in a new golden age for the sport.
I was granted an interview today with Marcus Luer, the Managing Director for GLORY.
Guten Morgen, Herr Luer! Thank you for the call, I appreciate you taking the time to call.
Guten Morgen, Zeus. Its good to speak with you today.
I’d like to start by getting your take on what a huge year this has been for GLORY, and the events taking place in 2012 and beyond. What really got this deal to take place? Because there were many rumors about the near-collapse of K-1, and how they ended some business deals with you and It’s Showtime.
More than anything, it was Simon Rutz of It’s Showtime seeing our vision of where we wanted to take the sport of kickboxing and he wanted to be a part of it. We had looked at purchasing K-1, thinking it was a good brand. But, it didn’t work out. The deal we made allowed us to become stronger with a huge roster of fighters, and is how we were able to set up the next three big events to end the year.
Let’s talk about the GLORY Grand Slam Heavyweight tournament. The line up has got to be the the deepest tournament in kickboxing history, if you ask me. Semmy Schilt, Peter Aerts, Jerome LeBanner, Remy Bonjasky, Sergei Kharitonov, Gokhan Saki and more.
Yes, it will be an outstanding one night tournament, especially with the new format we have in store. The fights will be up to three rounds, but if one fighter wins the first two rounds he wins the fight and advances to the next round. It insures excitement and a fast paced atmosphere for the fighters and the fans.
I think that will create some great fights and both guys will give it their all to win as quickly as possible to move up. It seems that there’s only one Top 10 Heavyweight that ISN’T in the Grand Slam-
You’re talking of course, about Daniel Ghita, he is one of the fighters we manage. He signed his K-1 deal before all this happened at GLORY. We are confident that we will have the opportunity to bring him to GLORY before too long. Also, we just signed Tyrone Spong, and he will be in Tokyo at the Grand Slam.
Will Spong be entered into the tournament ?
He told us he didn’t want to be in a tournament on the first night he returns. He may see the format and want in on the next Grand Slam, though.
There was a lot of speculation that Spong would begin an MMA career, training with the Blackzilians in Florida. Its certainly another feather in GLORY’s cap to sign him on, for sure. What else are you working on?
We are launching a new website, it should be up by early next week. Its going to have lots of new content, features and many great surprises. Also, we will be using some new technology that was introduced at the London Olympics for our bigger cards.
On November 3rd, the GLORY Final 8 tournament takes place in Rome, Italy. Its got some very special significance to it, tell us about the event.
It has eight of the best 70kg (154 lb) fighters in the world in another one night tournament. The backdrop is of course the beauty of the Roman Coliseum, and the venue is the same place that Muhammad Ali won is Olympic Gold Medal. It will be a great night of fights.
How many events will there be next year for GLORY?
We are planning on 12 big GLORY World Series events, as well as a new smaller venue series, called ROAD TO GLORY. We will be developing the next generation of fighters and showcasing them there to prepare them for the World Series. How do you create new stars? You have to get them to fight and beat the present stars.
I see, as they win and carve their own names into kickboxing history they will be the greats of tomorrow. What is the atmosphere at a GLORY event? Many times I see couples dressed in formal wear, like at many boxing events.
We are aware of the way that our audiences have been over the years, and we want everyone to feel comfortable and enjoy an event. If you want to spend more on a ticket to be down front, that’s great, but we will have tickets for as little as 25 to 40 dollars, too. There will be more of the great entrances that you’ve seen at other kickboxing events, similar to that of WWE. The fighters will have great music, lighting and pyrotechnics when they come to the ring.
That’s something that the UFC has refused to do, and I feel like they are missing out. How do you see the UFC in the combat sports market with what they’ve done till now?
The UFC has done an amazing job over the years, its become a huge business and we respect what they’ve done. We will be competing for their fans as time moves forward. People that love combat sports love the stand up aspect, and describing what we do is very easy for people to relate to. Its basically punches and kicks, an easy sell. You don’t have to worry about people understanding the ground game. It will take some time, and we know that we won’t be as big as the UFC in a year or even three years. But, we will be a competitor in the market.
Will you be adding more divisions to the GLORY World Series?
Yes, absolutely, in 2013 we are exploring the talent around the world, looking at the divisions between 70kg and heavyweight.
What did you think of the announcement of the Spike network deal with K-1?
I think having events on Spike.com isn’t going to help them out very much. K-1 is still, as far as I know, billing Badr Hari as their main star, and we all know that he is in jail and will not see a kickboxing ring for many years to come.
We are all looking forward to the Final 8 and Grand Slam tourney’s as well as the exciting new technology and the new website. Thank you for your time, Herr Luer.
Thank you for your support Zeus, we really appreciate it.
Follow GLORY on Twitter @GLORY_WS
About Marcus Luer : He is the Founder + CEO of Total Sports Asia (TSA) and GLORY (GSI) www.gloryworldseries.com Sports Marketing Entrepreneur who walks the talk. YPO Board Malaysia Kuala Lumpur · http://www.totalsportsasia.com