GLORY Kickboxing had one of its biggest events of the year ruined after a riot broke out in the crowd during Saturday’s GLORY 80 card at Trixxo Arena in Hasselt, Belgium.
In the co-headlining bout of the evening, heavyweights Arkadiusz Wrzosek and Badr Hari were competing and Wrzosek scored a flying knee knockdown of Hari in Round 2. As the round came to a close, agitated fans began to push and shove one another around the ring.
Video of the rapidly escalating riot, which includes chairs and equipment being hurled around the venue, can be seen here:
Wrzosek and Hari were facing one another in a rematch of their September 2021 encounter that Wrzosek won via a miraculous comeback head kick knockout. Saturday’s bout did not resume following the dispersal of the rioters and was declared a no contest. Shortly afterward, GLORY officials announced on social media that the main event between Jamal Ben Saddik and Levi Rigters was cancelled.
A subsequent statement was released Saturday evening:
GLORY deeply regrets that GLORY80 was interrupted by people exhibiting unsafe behavior. We never condone or accept behavior that endangers other fans that come to our events to enjoy a night of top sport. Upon the request of the police in the city of Hasselt, we stopped the event after the 2nd round of Hari - Wrzosek.
We apologize to the fans who did not get to see the end of this bout and the Ben Saddik - Rigters matchup. Also to the athletes who trained so hard and did not get to compete. Martial arts is a sport of respect and fair competition inside and outside of the ring.
Glory released another statement Sunday, further condemning the actions of the rioters. The promotion noted that the incident was caused by “a group of individuals with bad intentions” and that the event was stopped “upon the request of the local authorities.” An investigation into the incident is underway.
The promotion stated that “all event attendees are safe and no one was seriously injured.”
See the full statement below.
For the past 10 years, GLORY has successfully been organizing safe, world-class events in dozens of cities and countries around the world. In preparation of and during the GLORY 80 event at the Trixxo Arena in Hasselt, Belgium, GLORY worked with the local authorities and took all steps necessary to ensure the on-site safety precautions and procedures.
Unfortunately, a group of individuals with bad intentions attended the event last night. They exhibited unsafe behavior during the event. With absolute regard to the safety of the audience and upon the request of the local authorities, GLORY stopped the event. It was the first time that such an incident has ever taken place at a GLORY event, and we would like to report that with today’s knowledge all event attendees are safe and no one was seriously injured. Safety of all participants and attendees has always and will always be GLORY’s utmost priority.
We are deeply saddened that these irresponsible actions have ruined everyone’s night: from fighters, to viewers, to the 7,000 fans, and GLORY staff and partners who participated into the sold-out Trixxo Arena which was supposed to be part of a special night. These individuals tried to tarnish the image of the sport that we and millions of fans around the world love and care about. This type of behavior has no place in our sport or at our events.
Over the next days, GLORY will be conducting a full investigation on this incident together with the local authorities. We will take all necessary measures and apply the strictest sanctions, including legal actions, to anyone who took part, directly or indirectly, in any misconduct.
Lastly, GLORY will communicate actions that will be implemented for GLORY’s pay-per-view customers by email next week.
Hari also released a statement on Sunday decrying the actions of a “small group of hooligans who ruined the evening” and stating that he regretted “that my opponent didn’t realize how dangerous was the attitude of his fans.” That statement can be read below.
I want to express my thanks to GLORY for their good organization in the run up and during GLORY 80. Me and the Badr army, which has been amazing yesterday and since the beginning of my career, were looking forward to an amazing night of top sport and a great fight. I would have loved to offer you a great third round. Yesterday I felt strong, well prepared and ready to win this fight.
Unfortunately, the fight has been cancelled because of a small group of hooligans who ruined the evening. This behavior has nothing to do with the values of the sport or with GLORY. I have never experienced anything like this and we should stand up against this. I regret that my opponent didn’t realize how dangerous was the attitude of his fans.
I have all faith in GLORY that they will continue to offer kickboxing fans the greatest events in combat sport worldwide.
Work continues… we will be back soon.
To my Badr Army, I love you.