Introducing Bellator Kickboxing
When “Smooth” Benson Henderson signed with Bellator MMA, he said that one of the things that drew him to the company aside from outright cash was an “intangible” of being able to compete in combat sports outside of MMA. Shortly their after, the promotion announced the formation of a new brand, Bellator Kickboxing. Coincidence?
Bellator President Scott Coker said at the official press conference that he first started with kickboxing. The promotion had previously organized what was supposed to be a new series of co-promoted MMA/kickboxing hybrid events, Dynamite with Glory Kickboxing. While the event-- which took place last September--was considered a success, Glory was dropped from Bellator’s home Spike TV in October of last year. As of 2016, Glory is now on UFC Fight Pass. The first BK event (co-promoted with Octagon Kickboxing) will have an international flair as it debuts from Torino, Italy in April. Notable names from MMA include: Patricky “Pitbull”, Melvin Manhoef, and Alessio Sakara. "We know how to do this as good or better than anybody," Coker said. "Because this kickboxing business is something I've been doing for a long time. It's something that I felt like, we could do it properly. Let's get our fighters that want to fight in kickboxing, who are fighting MMA right now, and let them fight on both sides of the ledger."
"We still talk to the GLORY guys, Viacom/Spike's Jon Slusser told MMAmania.com after the press conference. "It's all good. We see an opportunity with the infrastructure and the platform we are already on. Here we are sitting on assets and great people and infrastructure that is really first class and why not take advantage of it to squeeze more efficiency out of it in a sport that we know has potential and we know has a future for the U.S. audience that it just doesn't have today."