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CEO: GLORY and Mike Tyson open to future cooperation

Former world heavyweight boxing champion ‘Iron' Mike Tyson was ringside at GLORY 19 on Friday night. He was there to watch the World Heavyweight Championship fight and provide some insights to viewers.

Tyson also watched the four-man Welterweight Contender Tournament with interest. His presence was likewise monitored with interest by the tournament fighters and in particular tournament winner Nieky Holzken, who declared it "an honor" to have Tyson there to witness his triumph.

At the post-fight press conference, GLORY CEO Jon Franklin - who has worked on various Tyson-related television projects over the years and is on friendly terms with the former champion - said that he hopes to see Tyson get involved with more GLORY shows in 2015.

"We love having Mike here, we'd love to bring him to more events in the future," he said.

"His presence has motivated and excited our fighters to fight to the best of their ability and we're excited to have him, so we'd love to have Mike spend more time at GLORY."

As for Tyson, he saluted the achievement of Rico Verhoeven in retaining the World Heavyweight Championship against his big rival Errol Zimmerman, and was also taken with Holzken's performance.

Tournaments divide opinion; Tyson was asked for his thoughts on having fighters compete twice or more in one night.

"I think tournaments in general are awesome because the fighter has the opportunity to get more experience, he can fight three times, four times in one night. That's not going to hurt him at all," he said.

"I am a strong believer that the more fights you have the better you become. A fighter's worst enemy is inactivity and a fighter's best friend is activity so [activity] is the best thing that can happen. Tournaments are the best, I am all for it."

Friday night's event was the first GLORY event of 2015. The stakes were high for the kickboxing organization given the disruption at the end of 2014 because of cancellations and a short-notice GLORY 18 OKLAHOMA show which didn't score big viewer numbers.

Figures for GLORY 19 were much better, averaging out at 529,000 to make the show the second-highest in terms of viewing figures on Spike TV. Interestingly, Holzken was also part of the most-viewed Spike-aired card, GLORY 13 TOKYO.

Last week GLORY announced that its Superfight Series cards - which takes place prior to the numbered event and is considered a separate television product in its own right - will now be airing via tape-delay on CBS Sports, with the latest installment airing this Friday 13 at 11pm.

"We're trying to be on television as much as we can. Last week we had a show on Spike with Mike [Tyson] and then we had the live show on Spike TV. [Friday 13] we are on CBS Sports [with the Superfight Series card] so that's three weeks in a row that we are on television in the United States," says Franklin.

"All major networks, great lead-ins from COPS on Spike, great lead-ins from basketball and hockey on CBS. We're on a men's entertainment network, we're on a sports network, we've got specials with Mike Tyson... It's time for Glory."