Now that Bellator MMA CEO Scott Coker and Jon Franklin are flying under the same Spike TV/Viacom flag, one can’t help but wonder if they’ve had a conversation or two about tournament structure. One of Coker’s first acts as the newly appointed Bellator CEO was to focus on superfights and it will be interesting to see if Franklin seeks to adopt a similar structure. Glory Kickboxing has showcased 4, 8 and even 16 man-slam tournaments as well as superfight matchups in the past, and it will be interesting to see which style Franklin chooses to focus on in 2015. Examining the past pros and cons, will Glory adopt more superfights or tournaments in 2015?
Tournament bouts provide a unique evening in the world of combat sports in that fighters determine their own fate all in one action-packed evening. 4, 8, and even 16 men in the same division battle for a title contention or championship as in Glory 17. There’s no time wasted, no politics, and no fat on a tournament nights, the best prove their worth by making it through 3 or 4 intense nine minute fights. Prospective kickboxers who would normally have to capitalize on prelim opportunities can stake their claim in one night with success in the competition. In an open letter posted on August 25th, Franklin addressed sponsorship, the future of Glory, and the return in Late October, he states. A minimum of ten events a year would be more than enough to provide each of the seven weight classes with a champion in a tournament format, whether or not he chooses to keep that structure remains to be seen.
Super Fight Potential
Tournaments provide a lot of action in one night, but they can also inundate the fans with too many fights in one evening. One of the greatest parts about looking forward to your favorite fighter’s matchup in a superfight is that all of the action and payoff happens at once. Tournaments provide a lot of opportunity for prospective fighters, but it is more difficult to market and advertise so many names for one evening. A maximum of three or four fights in one evening for fighters is also a factor to be taken into account when trying to structure ten events a year. That amount of fights in one evening can take a serious toll on competitor’s health and may make it difficult for fighters to stay healthy on a month to month basis.
If Jon Franklin wants to keep the tradition of the organization in the tournament format but also be able to effectively market big name superfights, perhaps there is an equal balance that can be maintained with both. Preliminary bout tournaments can provide new fighters to the organization with a chance to earn their way into Glory while the organization has the chance to focus its marketing efforts in headlining main cards. Whichever focus Jon Franklin chooses to adopt, Glory’s return in late October and future in 2015 will be a defining time for the future of the organization.