It is official, the rights to K-1's brand and future events has officially been sold, the reign of FEG has apparently come to a close. According to the reports being leaked by reputable sources in Japan straight from Kazuyoshi Ishii, K-1's rights have been transfered to Barbizon Co. Ltd. based out of Japan, which is a luxury real estate rentals and investment company. Only the rights to K-1 and associated trademarks have moved to Barbizon, including the DYNAMITE!!, World Grand Prix, K-1 GP and so forth.
DREAM will continue to be operated by the same party as always, which means no real change on the DREAM front. Interestingly enough, the K-1 Koshien brand, K-1's youth league that they have been running for the past few years will be staying with the pachinko company FiELDS that was a longtime sponsor of K-1 and K-1 Dynamite!! shows.
The K-1 MAX brand was nowhere to be seen in this deal, most likely because of TBS's involvement in developing and holding the rights to the K-1 MAX brand, but it should be noted that the one K-1 show this year, the -63kg Japan tournament did have the MAX branding on it, so it is unclear exactly what will happen with the K-1 MAX brand and division right now, as the MAX brand could easily be licensed from or purchased from TBS.
There is a lot more to this story, though, a lot of which has yet to be fully revealed, such as why did a real estate company purchase K-1, who other investors are, who will officially manage the promotion and when to expect more shows. There should be an official announcement out of Japan shortly about the sale of the rights, but don't expect further news on the more in depth information for at least a few weeks. Many have been quick to write off potential European influence in the new K-1, but if sources are correct, there will be a lot more news to come. [source]
Dave Walsh has been covering MMA and Kickboxing since 2007 before changing his focus solely to Kickboxing in 2009, launching what was the only English-language site dedicated to giving Kickboxing similar coverage to what MMA receives. He was the co-founder of HeadKickLegend and now LiverKick. He resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he works as a writer of all trades.
His first novel, the Godslayer, is available now.