GLORY was looking to rebound from its lowest-rated show in the kickboxing promotion's history last weekend (Fri., Aug. 7, 2015), returning stateside with GLORY 23 inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
And it was successful in that regard.
According to Spike TV, 295,000 viewers tuned in to watch Nieky Holzken defeat Raymond Daniels via technical knockout to win the vacant GLORY Welterweight title, as well as witness Dustin Jacoby be crowned the Middleweight "qualifier"tournament winner.
The ratings were almost double what the last event, GLORY 22, pulled in on June 5, 2015, in Lille, France.
While that number is a significant jump up from the 152,000 viewers who watched GLORY 22, which had an unsavory 4 p.m. ET start time from France, GLORY 23 was the second-lowest rated card out of the 13 shows aired on Spike TV since 2013.
The contributing factors were likely the 11 p.m ET start time, and also, unfamiliarity on the rest of the five-fight main card. The main event featured current fan favorite Daniels -- who has become quite popular with his high-flying attack -- and Holzken, who has fought on the two-highest ranked shows of all time (GLORY 13, GLORY 19). That is one of the best and most-exciting main events the company can offer at the moment.
But, it didn't support the headliner with any other fight close to that level.
The co-main event saw Xavier Vigney win a split decision against Daniel Sam. Vigney won the GLORY 21 four-man heavyweight "qualifier" tournament in May, but he is largely unknown still. Sam, meanwhile, was making his Spike TV debut.
In addition, there were three fighters who were all virtually unheard of participating in the aforementioned "qualifier" tournament, the lone recognizable name being Jacoby, who has fought in Bellator MMA and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Quinton O'Brien and Ariel Sepulveda were making their GLORY debuts, and Casey Greene had only fought twice before for the promotion on the Superfight Series.
Nonetheless, Jacoby looked outstanding and won both of his fights by knockout to win the tournament. And it was nice to see him go up against fighters who didn't have a ton more experience than him, which has largely been the case for him in his GLORY career. However, having him -- and three unknown fighters on the big stage on Spike TV -- was a huge risk that didn't work out this time.
In defense of GLORY, it has been steadfast at building North American kickboxing talent. In fact, it has been an important goal from the beginning of its tenure with Spike TV. And it seems determined to continue to develop young talent from the United States in a sport that has long been dominated by European and Asian fighters.
Tournaments are fantastic and can be highly entertaining, but so can a stacked card top to bottom. GLORY is more than capable of giving the Spike TV audience five great match ups to sink their teeth into. "Qualifier" tournaments could be on the Superfight Series for events such as GLORY 23 and the main card could feature five fights.
In other words, it wouldn't have to abandon the staple of a one-night tournament, and could switch things up on certain cards to give fans something different on occasion. Jacoby vs. Sepulveda, Greene or O'Brien could have even led off the main card to ensure it is showcasing American fighters.
The fantastic news? Next up is Bellator MMA: 'Dynamite 1,' where GLORY will have two outstanding title fights on the hybrid kickboxing/MMA card. Zack Mwekassa and Saulo Cavalari will battle for the vacant GLORY Light Heavyweight title and Featherweight champion Gabriel Varga will defend his title against Serhiy Adamchuk.
It's an incredible opportunity to appeal to new cross-over fans, which could pay invaluable ratings dividends with GLORY 24 and beyond.