Earlier this afternoon, MMAFighting's Luke Thomas confirmed what has been speculated for quite some time: Spike TV will no longer broadcast GLORY kickboxing after a two-year television partnership.
The Viacom-owned network aired 14 GLORY fight cards starting with GLORY 11 back in Oct. 2013 and ending with GLORY 24 in Oct. 2015, averaging little more than 418,000 viewers.
Rumors have swirled the past several months that GLORY and Spike TV would eventually part ways, with GLORY CEO Jon J. Franklin meeting with Showtime executives back in August. In addition, there are rumored plans for Spike TV to eventually start its own kickboxing promotion. In other words, it's safe to say the writing has long been on the wall that the kickboxing promotion and cable network were nearing the end of their relationship.
In fact, the murky waters became even clearer toward the end of September when Bellator MMA announced the Bellator 145 card for Nov. 6, 2015 on Spike TV -- the same date already announced for GLORY 25.
I reached out to Franklin on the matter and he would only say that the planned November event would air on television in the United States and that "an announcement is not too far off." Had GLORY negotiated an extension with Spike TV, there wouldn't have been a need for a forthcoming announcement. Meanwhile, Spike TV would not return requests for comment at that time.
Today, Franklin responded to the latest news from Spike TV with the following statement:
"Spike was a solid platform to introduce GLORY and kickboxing as a whole in the US. We of course leave the door open to working with Spike again, but for right now, the fit isn't perfect.
GLORY needs a partnership with a dedicated sports broadcaster, an established destination for the world's greatest athletic events. With more original content, shoulder programming and a view to brand building for the organization and our athletes coming up, GLORY will be able to take its next step as a global sports property.
We want to elevate the sport further and moving from a men's entertainment network to a dedicated sports network with broadcast affiliates that will best serve this goal.
Since we began, GLORY has delivered the most exciting stand-up fighting available and our fans worldwide will not miss that opportunity. Our next card, GLORY 25 Milan will air on US television, as will every card after that. We'll have an update on where to watch shortly. Stay tuned."
Franklin perhaps lobbed a veiled jab in the statement since GLORY really wasn't promoted well by the network -- 11 p.m. ET start times, which clearly contributed to poor ratings numbers, didn't help, either. There were other head-scratching moments during its tenure on Spike TV such as the GLORY 22 4 p.m. ET start time live from France without a later tape delay or the Bellator 142: "Dynamite" 1 broadcast on Sept. 19, 2015, where no commercials aired to promote the upcoming GLORY 24 card that was aired on Spike on Oct. 9, 2015.
As for where GLORY will ultimately end up, that remains up in the air. No new possible destinations have been discussed and the promotion hasn't given any details on the matter. But, with Nov. 6, 2015, fast approaching, one can surmise -- for GLORY 25 at least -- that the fight card will air on CBS Sports because the network already airing its preliminary "Superfight Series" via tape delay (or streamed online).
MMAMania will keep you posted once news breaks on GLORY's next television home.