Right now is probably one of the best times to be a kickboxing fan in the United States in over 30 years. If you stop to think about that it is almost hard to imagine. My introduction to K-1 came in the mid-90’s from my Kenpo instructor who let me borrow a few tapes of his that led to a spiral of insanity involving having my mom drive me into the city to go to the one store in the mall that imported anime and manga and occasionally had Japanese wrestling and fighting tapes available.
To say that it was difficult to follow kickboxing back then is an understatement. The advent of the internet made it easier to find tape traders and other people with similar interests, but it was still a process that involved waiting long periods of time for retail tapes to be released or for events to air on television. Things go easier when DVDs became all of the rage and everyone had a DVD burner, but it was still a pain. Hell, even when internet streams first came about it got easier yet.
Things now are almost laughable. You have streaming video that you can watch on mobile devices, you have promotions releasing their own fights for free and guess what? We have GLORY on Spike TV. There has never been this much access to high level kickboxing in the United States. Hell, GLORY even runs a lion’s share of their events here in the United States, so you can go and see these fights live. That’s insanity, even the best American kickboxers had to go overseas to fight before, now they have a home in America.
We can lament on the fact that GLORY’s inaugural PPV event wasn’t a UFC beater, we can make predictions and excuses, but the truth is; that isn’t going to help anyone. GLORY 17 and Last Man Standing were tremendous events and they were available to us — one on Spike TV for free, the other on PPV — live as they happened. Hell, if you were in the LA area you could have picked up some cheap tickets and gone there yourself.