Kickboxing is a sport that is ridiculously popular overseas, yet hasn't taken hold in America despite the best efforts of HDNet/AXStv. Kickboxing will be getting into the big time this fall though, thanks to a new deal between Spike and GLORY.
Beginning this fall, Spike will be airing live, two hour GLORY events in primetime on Saturday evenings. Since the fall (and eventual rebirth on a much smaller scale) of K-1 in 2011, GLORY has become the world's largest kickboxing organization. Last summer, GLORY swallowed up the Dutch-based It's Showtime!! promotion. GLORY has held six shows in America this year, with their most recent show last weekend taking place at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.
An odd note about Spike's deal with GLORY is that GLORY already had a US television deal in place – with CBS Sports Network, signed just this past April. CBS SN aired GLORY events on tape delay, and the jump to live television was probably a nugget just too tasty for GLORY executives to pass up. A network like Spike is probably a better option for GLORY too, as fight fans already know the channel as a hub for live fights, and they don't need to search for it on their cable listings.
Kickboxing is something that has potential to catch on in America. It doesn't feature the groundwork that many criticize as "boring" with MMA, and there's also more action and less clinching than in boxing. The first time a new fan sees someone like Tyrone Spong blister an opponent with a looping right to the jaw, they could get hooked and push GLORY to the next level. It's an interesting gamble from Spike, but a worthy one. With Bellator live fights resuming full-time in the fall on Friday nights, fight fans could get live fights on Spike on back to back evenings and get expoed to two very different styles