Thursday, May 22, 2014

Should Glory (Kickboxing) Abandon The Tournament Format?

I've been watching Glory kickboxing and while I am rather impressed with this new promotion, both in terms of the calibre of fighters in their roster and the quality of the shows they put on at such an early stage in their existence I think that the single day tournament format they employ might need to be reconsidered, the unique excitement and drama it brings notwithstanding. The tournament format is one of the reasons that I love Bellator MMA so much (although it's not a single day tournament) so I definitely do understand the reasoning behind Glory's use of it but after watching several of their events I am starting to question the wisdom behind the single day tournament format.

One of the things that has become clear is that a single day tournament is often times simply unfair. In almost every case, the fighters who made it to the final fight had totally different experiences along the way which invariably left one fighter in a much better position to fight than the other. Even the very best fighter in the roster could be in an underdog position, at least informally, in a fight against the last ranked fighter simply because his first fight went the distance (or close to it) while his opponent's fight ended within two minutes and as such he is undamaged and has a full gas tank while his opponent is battered and exhausted (or at least much further along the path to exhaustion than is his opponent). Clearly this would mean that the lower ranked guy will have a huge advantage over his opponent in the finals; isn't that statement alone enough to convince you that something is amiss? In this system a fresh fighter fighting a guy who is three quarters of the way to exhaustion right from the opening bell isn't a freak occurrence but a regularity. It's remarkably unfair.

The best you could hope for within this single day tournament format is that both guys have easy preliminary bouts and come to the finals in as close to fresh condition as possible. This is definitely possible, but rare, and if you are finding yourself hoping that the stars align so that the main event can be fair you might want to consider the fact that the format itself should be changed. No one goes into a UFC event hoping that the fighters in the main event are both well rested and not battered from a fight they had earlier in the night. Imagine if NHL teams had to play a game before they played their game? It's silly when you think about it, yet this is basically what Glory are doing.

I think Glory is a great promotion. The fighters are very skilled, the fights they put on are fantastic and the production is good, especially this early on in the promotion's life. That all being said, if I had some of the higher ups at that organization here in front of me I would simply ask them something to the effect of "speaking now only as a fight fan and not a promoter, think of the best, most intriguing matchups between Glory athletes that you can imagine and picture in your mind how the fights might play out. What would you rather see- two guys that are fresh and ready for war or two guys who are already tired, bruised and battered because they had a fight fifty minutes previous? I think it's safe to say that everyone would prefer the former as opposed to the latter. And to that I say, maybe that's something that should be considered. Does the single day tournament offer enough advantages that the clear downsides will be offset or is Glory limiting their long term potential with this format? I can't say that I know but I can guess.

I hope I am wrong because I love what they are doing over there at Glory. And I really might be; for all I know, the fighters themselves might prefer the single day tournament format. Actually, that gives me an idea: Glory should conduct a survey of their entire roster and see how guys feel. Do it anonymously if need be, but find out: given the choice, assuming all other variables were as close to equal as possible, would you join a rival promotion if they didn't have the single day tournament format? I would be interested to know what they had to say, and I would like to think that Glory would be as well.

1 comment:

  1. This was published at the Thought Catalog


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