(note: not the standard fare for my site, but LiverKick is being worked on right now and this was too big not to talk about)
After months of speculation as to the future of former GLORY Light Heavyweight Champion Gokhan Saki, a strange Facebook post from Saki where he talked about signing his retirement papers from kickboxing to get out of his GLORY contract, to the cryptic statements on social media, there is finally an answer as to the future of “The Rebel.” That future is not in the kickboxing ring, but instead in the UFC Octagon. Weird, right?
Saki, 0-1 in MMA, has signed an exclusive contract with the UFC with no official debut date set yet, but his sights set on the September 2nd UFC event in Rotterdam. The timing and place all seem to make sense, but if it happens is another story altogether.
The former K-1 and GLORY star has notably been absent since his last fight in 2015, with there being a lot of talk of struggles with a knee surgery, recovery, weight-cutting and then contractual situations all keeping him from the ring. Of late he has been vocal about his disdain for GLORY Heavyweight Champion Rico Verhoeven, with there being talk of a possible showdown between the two only for it to never materialize.
This is a rather heavy blow for the world of kickboxing, with Saki one of the last remaining stars from the K-1 World Grand Prix era of kickboxing who had just found a comfortable place at light heavyweight.
If you’ve been following his social media drama of late, there was talk of Saki’s Instagram being “hacked” and a countdown was appearing meant to “expose” Saki to the world. It was phrased in a way to make it seem like he was the victim of a malicious cyber attack but was sort of hard to believe. It all led to a video of Saki in a cage wearing a GLORY shirt before taking it off to expose a shirt with the UFC logo.
— Gökhan Saki (@gokhantherebel) May 25, 2017
Truly a showman and that’s one of the many reasons why kickboxing will miss him.