The big news came out the other day that Giorgio Petrosyan had terminated his management contract which kept him linked to It's Showtime and would now simply be working with his original manager, Carlo Di Blasi. LiverKick has spoken with both Di Blasi and officials at It's Showtime about the matter in an attempt to clarify exactly what is going on with Petrosyan and this management situation.
I feel like there is a need for some backstory to get a clearer picture if you are not well-versed in the current atmosphere in Kickboxing. As we all know, K-1 had an extremely rough 2011 while It's Showtime had an active year that involved running many successful shows as well as a successful 70kg tournament. A Korean investor, known simply as "Mr. Kim" came into the equation later on in the year, looking to purchase K-1 and strike up a working relationship with Rutz's It's Showtime organization. This is why when the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16 was being organized, most of the fighters were under contract to It's Showtime or affiliated companies. The official word that we got from Simon Rutz on this matter is that It's Showtime is not looking to buy a part of K-1, but are more than willing to help anyone who does invest in K-1, as the Kickboxing market is a difficult one right now.
In light of this Mr. Kim and It's Showtime's involvement with him and the failed K-1 deal, there have been talks of It's Showtime being deeply involved in the mythical "K-1 deal." Some have even gone as far as to say that It's Showtime is having financial problems due to this deal, but the word from It's Showtime seems to be that they were not as deeply involved in this K-1 deal as everyone seems to believe.
Di Blasi and Petrosyan feel that being affiliated with It's Showtime at this point is not in their best interests, as well as them being owed money for past fights and promises that were not kept. The final straw was the cancelation of the December It's Showtime event where Petrosyan was supposed to compete, which many have chalked up to the Dutch "BiBob law" that was put into motion in 2003 that is used to crack down on organized crime, including but not limited to the Hell's Angels. It has not been enforced that heavily until recently, when Eberhard van der Laan took office in Amsterdam as the mayor in 2010 and began targeting martial arts events, who seem to have a connection with certain gangs in the eyes of officials. Over the past few years there have been accusations of It's Showtime having connections with the Hell's Angels, which seem to be dubious and out of spite, but officials have taken it seriously. Petrosyan and Co. felt that the cancellation of that event without rescheduling or relocating the event breached the contract he had, which was for X-amount of fights per year.
It's Showtime has passed us along a copy of a statement made by EMAP, the management company responsible for managing Giorgio Petrosyan and other fighters who are affiliated with It's Showtime. EMAP is not run by It's Showtime, but Edwin Van Os, a name you should know well if you know Dutch Kickboxing (think Alkmaar Gym, Enfusion, etc.). Pretty fascinating, also to note that Giorgio Petrosyan was being paid 11,000 euros per fight. Seems pretty low for the fighter regarded by many as the GOAT (Greatest of All Time).
Message EMAP regarding Giorgio Petrosyan
We don’t want to spend too much time and energy on this matter, but here is our reaction regarding Giorgio Petrosyan and his connection to EMAP (a company of Edwin van Os).
Five years ago, Carlo di Blasi signed a contract with EMAP on behalf of the Petrosyan family. According to the contract, EMAP would offer Giorgio Petrosyan 5 fights a year, until the end of 2012, with the purse being agreed upon in advance. Also, EMAP would get Giorgio into the K-1. EMAP has always fulfilled these conditions.
Another part of the deal was that EMAP wouldn’t receive anything of the win bonuses Giorgio would earn in his fights. From the very first moment, EMAP made it clear that it is responsible for the original purse of Giorgio’s fights, but never for the win bonuses, because EMAP doesn’t receive any percentage of it.
Even guaranteeing the purse for the K-1 fights was a risk for EMAP, but not as much as when Giorgio would win the tournament. That’s why EMAP didn’t take responsibility for guaranteeing the win bonuses, which are to be paid by K-1. But again, the purses are always correctly paid by EMAP, as it was agreed upon in a signed contract.
We understand that the Petrosyan family is disappointed because they haven’t received the latest win bonus from K-1, but the Petrosyan family shouldn’t cry now, because they have been warned for this possibility for years. The purse that EMAP had to pay according to the contract, has correctly been paid, as stated earlier.
It’s true that Mr. Kim from Korea (he was supposed to be the new investor for K-1) offered the Petrosyan family to pay 50% of the unpaid win bonus if he would become the new investor. But as many already know, Mr. Kim didn’t become the new investor because Mr. Ishii didn’t want to sign a contract with Mr. Kim. So this offer simply expired. That’s harsh, but it’s reality.
Regarding the amount of fights that EMAP had to offer according the contract, 5 each year: we have fulfilled this as well, but if Giorgio suffers from a severe hand injury that had him sidelined for 3 times, who can change that?
EMAP wanted Giorgio to fight even 8 times a year. Because of the contract, we didn’t have to pay that much to a two-time K-1 champion; only 11.000 Euros per fight.
This is where we think it’s all about, from the Petrosyan family’s perspective: besides the fact that the family is rightfully disappointed by not receiving their last win bonus from K-1, they also think the deal, made five years ago, is not that interesting anymore, because the family wants more money per fight. EMAP asked other promoters, except for K-1, for the same amount of money as was in the contract. However, the Petrosyan family and their actual manager, Carlo di Blasi, want more money than the originally agreed 11.000 Euros. They are just looking for a way out to get more money for their fights.
To clarify the story for everyone: EMAP has granted permission to IT’S SHOWTIME to offer Giorgio Petrosyan on behalf of EMAP to other promoters, and to schedule him for their own events. IT’S SHOWTIME has notified EMAP that as far as they are concerned, the book Giorgio Petrosyan is now a closed one, because IT’S SHOWTIME thinks the Petrosyan family is ungrateful for what IT’S SHOWTIME has done for them. IT’S SHOWTIME thinks it’s not worth it to put in a lot of effort for an unsatisfied fighter, whose contract will expire at the end of this year anyway, and they wish Giorgio all the best.
EMAP would like to summarize the following matters:
1) We have fulfilled our contractual obligations.
2) We have never been responsible for the payment of the win bonuses of K-1.
3) We have a declaration which releases us from the amount of fights we have to offer. This declaration is signed by the Petrosyan family.
4) It’s not EMAP that didn’t fulfill the obligation of 5 fights a year, but Petrosyan himself. He, of course without being blamed, was more injured than able to fight.
5) Giorgio Petrosyan’s actual manager, Carlo di Blasi, is just looking for a way out of the contract so he is the only one who can offer Giorgio to other promoters, and so he can get more money and schedule Giorgio for more of his own events.
If Carlo di Blasi or the Petrosyan family thinks they are right, then we are confidently looking forward to any lawsuit. Actually, the opposite should be more likely, that EMAP sues Giorgio Petrosyan for a breach of contract. However, at this moment we think just like IT’S SHOWTIME and say: good luck!
We also wish the Petrosyan family good luck with the man (Carlo di Blasi) they want to get rid off for years, but are now once again connected to, by these recent developments.