With the K-1 WGP Final 16 being cancelled, making this the first year in K-1's existence without a World Grand Prix, many are throwing around the misconception that Kickboxing is dying. The statement couldn't be any more false. It's a reality of the Kickboxing world: For many, K-1 is kickboxing. With K-1 not hosting a World Grand Prix this year, many have also falsely declared that the organization is dead which is another notion that couldn't be any farther from the truth. The false thought of K-1 supposedly being dead in the minds of many fans is enough to claim that the entire sport of Kickboxing is dying. Dave Walsh gave some information on K-1's future here, to get rid of the thought that K-1 is dead.
The reality is that right now, there are a lot more viable options for kickboxing than in the past. Yes, the big monster K-1 isn't around for the time being but think for a minute: For all the years that K-1 ruled kickboxing, was there really any alternatives with potential? Sure, SuperLeague was around for a few years and had some real quality, but it didn't last that long. There were pretty much no sustainable alternatives in Kickboxing that were easy to follow. Fast forward to the present day and there's a healthy stable of Kickboxing promotions slowly rising to prominence. It's Showtime in 2010 and mostly in 2011 has really expanded their territory, both geographically and in the general picture of Kickboxing. Fight Code has really put together a nice 2011, slowly gaining some ground. SuperKombat is also gaining ground, and with some tweaks here and there could really expand their product, especially its internet presence.
More fighters that would normally be in the shadows of K-1 are getting a shot on bigger stages than they would have before. With K-1 only having two (only very recently three) weight classes, everyone in between and below 70kg-Heavyweight/Super Heavyweight was left in the dust. It's Showtime is providing a better platform for these weight classes to receive their due and with the direction of the promotion seeming to be straight ahead, I think we can expect even more progress. Who would know who Javier Hernandez and Karim Bennoui are if not for It's Showtime?
Although the current viable promotions that are present now have nowhere near the awareness and hype that K-1 had, it's still a building block. More fans have taken notice with K-1's absence and now are aware that there are alternatives. Even if the amount of these fans is little, every one counts.
If K-1 is finally, completely sold and running by next year, it's an additional plus for the sport. Not only would K-1 be back and running, it would be running alongside these other promotions like It's Showtime, Fight Code and SuperKombat that have picked up awareness from K-1's absence. Normally, the typical kickboxing fan would not have many events to look forward to due to K-1's schedule. The fans that have picked up on other promotions would now have other events to watch alongside K-1.
Despite the numerous ideas and opinions being thrown around, Kickboxing isn't going anywhere. One might not realize looking at it from a purely North American standpoint, but countries all over Europe and around the world like Australia and Japan have had established scenes for years that just won't die off. No matter how obscure that some parts of the Kickboxing world may appear, the fact is they're still there and will remain there. Promotions have popped up and are making advances. K-1's absence, Badr Hari's moves to boxing and the potential loss of Gokhan Saki and Tyrone Spong to other sports may seem like the dagger in kickboxing, but all these situations have been overblown for the most part. Kickboxing will live on to see another day.