GLORY CEO Andrew Whitaker talks 'Last Man Standing' PPV, insists Spike TV programming 'not going anywhere'

GLORY Sports International

MMAmania.com spoke to GLORY CEO Andrew Whitaker on the recent news that the world's leading kickboxing promotion would be heading to pay-per-view (PPV) for the first time with "Last Man Standing" on June 21, immediately following the GLORY 17 event in Los Angeles on Spike TV. He made it clear that the promotion's presence will remain on Spike, despite venturing into PPV.

Most action movie fans remember Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome and the famous recurring theme of "Two men enter, one man leaves." On June 21, GLORY kickboxing will turn the newly-renovated Forum in Los Angeles into its own Thunderdome with the promotion's first entry into pay-per-view (PPV), called "Last Man Standing."

On this night, it will be eight men entering into a one-night middleweight tournament, with only one remaining, for the right to be called the GLORY middleweight champion and "Last Man Standing."

Before any of the fans that tune into Spike TV every month get annoyed with the PPV news, GLORY CEO Andrew Whitaker wants to make it abundantly clear, that in no way, shape, or form, is GLORY abandoning the current platform on free TV.

"The important message here is the numbered events are continuing on national TV. That's not changing. That's not going anywhere," Whitaker recently told MMAmania.com.

"That is, and has been the plan from day one, prior to us even having the agreement with Viacom and Spike TV -- to have that programming out in the clear -- that is going to continue. Our free to air, national U.S. Clearance with Spike TV continues every month going forward. It's a monthly thing. You are going to see four-man tournaments, which is the format that we have with Spike. That's the G-numbered events: G16, G17, G18, G19 going forward, those will be on national free TV."

On June 21, fans will get to see two tournaments: GLORY 17, which will feature the usual, four-man tournament on Spike (weight class has not yet been decided), then immediately following that on PPV, will be GLORY "Last Man Standing," the eight-man middleweight title tournament.

"We will have GLORY 17 on Spike TV. Then after ... the difference is after that national clearance of G17 on Spike TV, there is a special attraction -- which has not been delivered in the U.S. before on national TV on a pay-per-view basis -- as a GLORY eight-man tournament referred to as 'Last Man Standing.' So, eight men go into a tournament, one is the last man standing. We have a lot of the top GLORY fighters going into that tournament. So that is the 'Last Man Standing' pay-per-view attraction on the 21st of June, after the two-hour national Spike broadcast of GLORY 17."

The fans that are attending live on June 21st at The Forum in Los Angeles will get the best of the three GLORY platforms, and buying a ticket will have tremendous value, as Whitaker revealed there will "still be a GLORY Superfight Series," which always precedes the two-hour broadcasts on Spike, in addition to GLORY 17 and "Last Man Standing."

"The people that are going to the venue will get to see the best of GLORY and a lot of what GLORY produces," The GLORY CEO stated. "The people that look at it on a television basis, or on a online basis, or a combination thereof, will see different programs in different places in different times from that particular venue."

According to the promotion's official press release, GLORY Sports International has partnered with PPV distributor inDemand for the delivery of "Last Man Standing" for $34.95.

Said inDemand's senior vice president of programming and business development, "We are thrilled to welcome GLORY kickboxing into our stable of top notch event providers for the cable PPV audience."

Seven out of eight of the top GLORY middleweight fighters have been confirmed for "Last Man Standing," including: Joe Schilling (USA), Wayne Barrett (USA), Alex Pereira (BRA), Filip Verlinden (BEL), Bogdan Stoica (ROM), Simon Marcus (CAN), and Melvin Manhoef (NED).

The final competitor has yet to be revealed, although many pundits are expecting the No. 1-ranked GLORY middleweight Artem Levin -- who is scheduled to face Robert Thomas at GLORY 16 -- to be the last entry in the tournament.

For more on the tournament participants click here.

The Forum -- which was recently purchased and renovated by The Madison Square Garden Company -- was the former home of the LA Lakers and LA Kings. The historic venue reopened with the "History of the Eagles Tour" in January and hosted the Men's Freestyle Wrestling World Cup.

Whitaker explained the reasoning and decision behind choosing The Forum and Los Angeles for GLORY's first venture into PPV.

"Obviously it's the number-two market in the United States," he said. "We've been there before. Obviously we are expecting to be pulling GLORY fans from all over, however on a local market basis, California is a strong in the combat sports space, and specifically there is a pretty strong kickboxing community there. We have some good local promoters there that we work with, and it was just a combination of things. The venue is brilliant. It is a Madison Square Garden venue. It is a historic venue. It has an amazing scope, scale and look to it. It's been renovated. It is a beautiful and iconic, American facility with a very storied history."

GLORY's last eight-man tournament was won by Tyrone Spong at GLORY 9 in New York and featured the light heavyweight division. At GLORY 4, Semmy Schilt won the 16-man heavyweight tournament. Not only is "Last Man Standing" the promotion's first tournament on PPV, it's also the first kickboxing tournament on PPV in years, and the first combat sports tournament on PPV since Yamma Pit fighting in 2008.

"GLORY has done a "Road to GLORY" tournament before in California," Whitaker said. "As far as GLORY is concerned -- the premier league, so to speak, of kickboxing -- as far as that is concerned, this is the first time we will have delivered an eight-man tournament on pay-per-view. We've done big tournaments internationally before, but this will be our first in the United States and first on pay-per-view. We are looking forward to it."

"The fact is there's multiple lines of business that sports media is in, and this is one of them. It's not by any means the only one, but at the same token it is a very, very important one. We are putting together a very special attraction: eight men going into a tournament and one becoming the last man standing is a very, very exciting and strong format, no question about it. The caliber of the GLORY fighters going into that tournament format makes for very compelling content and is perfect for our first step into the pay-per-view space in America."

The GLORY CEO is looking forward to "Last Man Standing," but he left any mention of future PPV plans right there saying, "Right now, we aren't releasing anything other than this." In closing, he reiterated the importance of the fans to know that GLORY will be remaining on Spike TV.

"The fact is, we are offering something exclusively different somewhere else," Whitaker explained. "Our programming on Spike is tremendous. In the two-hour block, the four-man tournament is the perfect format. We've had some success in the few broadcasts we've had so far on Spike. Both GLORY and Spike are pleased with the progress. Obviously, we look for that to continue for the numbered four-man tournaments."

"Whether it's GLORY 16 on May 3 in Denver, or it's GLORY 17 in Los Angeles on June 21, we look to deliver our best that we can produce for Spike and for the fans watching on national television. So this is just another delivery of another separate piece of content, a special attraction in the pay-per-view space. We will then come back after that and it will be GLORY 18, 19 and 20 and it will continue on."

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