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UFC Fight Pass adds GLORY kickboxing, Eddie Bravo Invitational jiu-jitsu, and K-1 library

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The UFC announced it will add live GLORY kickboxing and Eddie Bravo Invitational jiu-jitsu events to its Fight Pass streaming service on Thursday at a media event in Los Angeles. It also has an even more important part of the story almost buried in the fine print.

The GLORY organization, the largest kickboxing company in the world, owns the rights to the footage of the original K-1 promotion in Japan, which includes more than 100 live events from 1993 to 2012 around the world. This include numerous fights with current UFC stars Mark Hunt and Alistair Overeem. It also includes the biggest fights in the careers of virtually every major name kickboxer of the last two decades like Ernesto Hoost, Peter Aerts, Andy Hug, Semmy Schilt, Mirko Cro Cop, Jerome LeBanner, Ray Sefo, Maurice Smith, Masato, Giorgio Petrosyan, Tyrone Spong as well as freak show fights with giants, Japanese entertainers and athletes from other sports.

Beginning immediately, Fight Pass will start uploading more than 2,000 hours of the highest-profile kickboxing action from K-1 and from It's Showtime, a Holland-based group, as well from the 27 previous GLORY events.  That will include K-1 annual staples like the annual World Grand Prix tournaments, which would pit eight of the top heavyweights, or middleweights, in one-night tournaments. The heavyweight tournament was one of Japan's biggest sports events of the year. In the group's heyday, the tournaments were held before 50,000 or more fans at the Tokyo Dome and were mainstream television prime time events that drew 15 million to 30 million viewers. The library would also include the company's New Year's Eve spectacles that included major MMA names, and a variety of different mixed rules fights with stars and Olympic athletes from a variety of different combat sports.

The live component of the deal kicks off on Feb. 26, when Fight Pass will stream Glory Superfight Series Chicago, a five-fight show headlined by Bellator star Joe Schilling (20-6, 12 knockouts in kickboxing) vs. Mike Lemaire (14-2, 7 knockouts) in a middleweight battle. Schilling is currently the No. 1 contender to middleweight king Artem Levin.

The second show, in March, from Paris, will include two championship fights.

The GLORY deal is notable in that Fight Pass will live stream roughly half of every card, with a new show roughly every month. The plan is for the GLORY shows to be split with half the fights, billed as GLORY SuperFight Series, going live on Fight Pass. The other half will air as part of the company's ongoing deal with ESPN.

"We are proud to announce our new partnership with the GLORY kickboxing and EBI Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu organizations," said UFC Senior Vice President and Fight Pass General Manager Eric Winter. "This is a huge development for FIGHT PASS. We haven't just added some kickboxing and some BJJ to Fight Pass--we partnered with leaders in both sports. GLORY has established itself as the pinnacle of world kickboxing while EBI leads the way in exciting, fast-paced submission grappling. Both of these organizations are tremendous additions to Fight Pass."

"UFC Fight Pass is at the top of the global MMA world, and GLORY is the world's leading kickboxing league," said GLORY co-founder Scott Rudmann. "This is an unprecedented partnership that brings the best of MMA and the best of kickboxing together on a single platform that is available for fight fans around the world.

"The UFC Fight Pass partnership is nothing short of a dream come true," said Bravo. "UFC is responsible for the explosion of popularity for BJJ around the world, and having EBI (Eddie Bravo Invitational) on UFC's digital streaming service is the perfect fit for us. I am incredibly confident that MMA and Jiu-Jitsu fans will love the full-throttle entertainment EBI is going to deliver on UFC Fight Pass."

The first EBI event is scheduled for April, with five or six events on Fight Pass scheduled for 2016.

"BJJ legend Eddie Bravo is well-known to UFC fans, having trained dozens of UFC athletes over the years, and also having served as a UFC broadcaster on occasion," said Winter. "What Eddie has been doing with his EBI events over the last couple of years is make BJJ accessible to MMA fans. EBI uses the same weight-classes as we do in the UFC, and the rules are set up to encourage athletes to be very aggressive and go for submissions from start-to-finish. The result is an exciting product that I know our loyal  Fight Pass customers are going to love.

"Including live and exclusive UFC Fight Night events like the Silva vs. Bisping February 27 event, and our exclusively live featured bouts on the UFC prelims, Fight Pass now presents live action from 10 of the leading combat sports organizations in the world," said Winter.

Fight Pass has existing deals with Invicta FC, Pancrase in Japan, Victory FC, Shooto Brazil, Titan FC, Brace MMA and EFN in Russia.

UFC Fight Pass is available for streaming currently on persona computers, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Amazon Fire TV, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Android, Chromecast, Samsung Smart TV, LG Smart TV and Roku devices, with annual subscriptions at $7.99 per month.

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