During Thursday’s official GLORY: Collision 2 press conference, GLORY CEO Marshall Zelaznik took questions from Dutch media in attendance. Zelaznik was asked about the status of number-one heavyweight contender Jamal “The Goliath” Ben Saddik, and also why the Rico-Badr rematch isn’t for the GLORY World Heavyweight Title. He was also asked about Glory Kickboxing’s current anti-doping policy.
On 30 May, a story was published by major Dutch publication De Telegraaf. In the interview, Ben Saddik told the publication both Rico and Glory promised him a title shot. Since that time, it was announced Rico Verhoeven would face Badr Hari next. Trainer Nick Hemmers also stated Ben Saddik was promised a title shot and felt “passed” during an interview with Dutch broadcaster Veronica.
Dutch Reporter: There was a guy Jamal Ben Saddik who was promised a title shot. What is the current status of Jamal Ben Saddik, and can we get an official statement from you?
Zelaznik: Yeah, sure. First of all, we’re not in the business of promising fights so that information isn’t totally accurate.
Obviously, Jamal having won the tournament put himself right in position for the title. Jamal is still a fighter with GLORY. We expect Jamal to be getting some big fights coming up. He’ll get his time but it’s these two guys now.
Dutch Reporter: Glory stopped working alongside the Dutch Anti-Doping Authority, and I’m wondering what the policy’s right now for doping.
Zelaznik: So, the anti-doping policy (is) the same. While we’re not working with ISR and NADO as we had in the past, we’ve got another group. A group out of the UK called ITA. They work with the Olympic Committee, they work with the NFL. They administer Major League Baseball. So they’ll be administering this event. They also just did our event in Dusseldorf. So same rules apply, just a different group.
One of the biggest questions surrounding the 21 December rematch between Verhoeven and Hari has been its status as a non-title bout. It’s rare in kickboxing for a non-title fight to be scheduled for the championship distance of five rounds. Verhoeven is the reigning Glory Heavyweight Champion, so why isn’t his belt on the line against Hari, who despite his inactivity is still considered an elite heavyweight?
Zelaznik was asked twice about why Rico-Badr 2 isn’t a title fight.
Dutch Reporter: Mr Zelaznik, it’s not a title fight. Can you tell us why?
Zelaznik: Yeah, so we’re trying to stay consistent with the last Collision fight. We are making this five rounds, however. So, it’s the decision that we’ve made. Obviously, we’re always evaluating these things. Don’t anticipate it changing, but at this point we’re trying to keep it as Collision.
As the press conference concluded, Zelaznik was asked again why isn’t the fight for the GLORY World Heavyweight Championship.
Dutch Reporter: Why is it not a title fight?
Zelaznik: Yeah, look I think there’s a nuance in this business that is triggered by title fights and not title fights. It’s something we continue to talk about in this company. There are contractual issues around title fights. And so at this point, title is not on the line. But again, as I was pointing out before, we continue to talk to the fighters and these camps about these things. The good news is it’s five rounds. And the good news is what you’re hearing is these fighters are going to fight as if it’s a title fight. So if the belt ends up being on the line, it’s something that we’ll certainly let you know about. But we’ll have an amazing five-round fight irrespective.
Photo Credit: James Law/GLORY Sports International