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UPDATE: HDnet and It's Showtime Ink Deal; K-1 Soon to Return

It's ShowtimeWith K-1's stunning silence throughout the year 2011 there is no doubt that Dutch promotion It's Showtime has picked up the slack that K-1 left and then some. It's Showtime has grown from a smaller organization that promoted a few scattered events, which from 1999 until 2004 involved one big event a year, which eventually turned into one big event at the Amsterdam ArenA until 2005 when the promotion decided to branch out and run more events. In 2005 they held a series with Gentlemen's Promotion that revolved around a massive 75kg tournament. The next year saw them co-promote with K-1 for the first time in what turned into a longstanding and beneficial relationship for both sides until recently, when K-1 fell upon massive financial woes and It's Showtime decided to move forward in the wake of K-1's absence.

This year is primed to be It's Showtime's biggest year yet, with last year holding 7 events and this year having 6 events already on their calendar and another three to four events in the works, but it doesn't stop there. LiverKick.com has been speaking with It's Showtime officials for a while now, and have understood that It's Showtime was not just happy with European expansion and was indeed looking to expand into the United States. This led to talks with a few television stations and promotional partners, some deals falling apart and then some rumors over the past week of big things brewing for It's Showtime.

Simon Rutz is no fool, as can be seen with the gradual growth of It's Showtime over the past 12 years. It's Showtime was not simply looking for a television deal for the United States, they were looking for promotional partners. Like we've seen with all of It's Showtime's recent events, they partner up with another company for all of their shows; BFN Group, Fight Group, Fighting Stars, Oktagon and even individuals like Yiannis Evgenikos and Kader Marouf. They wanted nothing different when it came to the United States and would not even think about promoting shows here without strong support from another promotion or entity, the same goes with television. They simply did not want to be on television, they wanted a working partnership that would expand the company.

We've dug pretty deep and found out that It's Showtime and HDnet finalized a deal earlier this week that will change the kickboxing world as we know it. It's Showtime has been added to HDnet's fight library, starting as soon as the May 14th Lyon, France show. That event will be aired on the following Friday at 11pm Eastern time. It is not airing live because of the short notice for the deal working itself out. We do know that Michael Schiavello is in Lyon, France right now most likely to commentate live on the event. To say that HDnet is going to give It's Showtime the "K-1 treatment" is an understatement.

Multiple sources have claimed that HDnet actually went and bought It's Showtime, or at least bought into the company. It was announced today that HDnet will begin airing It's Showtime immediately, through an agency called Fighting Spirit. LiverKick.com has also learned that HDnet is very interested in possibly purchasing K-1 to add to their stable of original programming. HDnet has aired K-1 in the past, but this would be different. K-1 has been having financial problems and many have been critical of their management, HDnet would look to have the legendary promotion turn a corner and help fully realize its potential in the United States.

UPDATE: Andrew Simon clarified that HDnet has only purchased the rights to It's Showtime in the U.S., not outright purchasing the promotion. They will work with the promotion to promote the shows, but won't hold an actual stake in it. As for K-1, HDnet will look to possibly further air their programming when live programming is available.

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Photo of the Day: Badr Hari at It's Showtime Lyon Press Conference

There is something to be said for a sharply-dressed man, and that man is Badr Hari. Badr Hari makes his return to the ring tomorrow, May 14th for It's Showtime. Today's photo of the day is a no-brainer, a photo of Badr Hari from the presser It's Showtime held today in Lyon. Photo courtesy of our friends at Staredown.nl.

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Preview of Inside MMA Featuring King Mo and Mark Miller

It's not every day that you get to see a world famous kickboxer on a MMA program, but that is exactly what we got this week with HDnet's Inside MMA. On this week's Inside MMA Josh Thomson fills in for Bas Rutten to host a panel of Bigfoot Silva, King Mo and Mark "Fightshark" Miller. Miller is, of course, making his return from open heart surgery a few years ago, and doing so in grand fashion at the Glory World Series on May 28th.

Here is HDnet's latest preview of this week's show, which airs on Friday night (external link, the embed isn't friendly).

 

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Photo of the Day: Buakaw is Ready for Thai Fight

As many have pointed out, the one glaring flaw in It's Showtime's 70kg tournament is the absence of Buakaw Por. Pramuk, which was something that K-1 MAX was missing as well. Buakaw has decided to re-focus himself on Muay Thai in 2011, which happens to involve participating in the Thai Fight series. While in Lyon, France on May 14th Badr Hari will be returning to the ring, in Cannes, France, Buakaw Por. Pramuk will be stepping into the ring. Many want to see how Buakaw's return to actual Muay Thai treats him, as a criticism launched against him (including our own beloved Brent) has been Buakaw's refusal to fight other thai boxers.

Let's see how this goes. Here is Buakaw at the airport heading to France.

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Mark "Fightshark" Miller to Appear on Inside MMA This Friday on HDnet

His comeback fight is on May 28th for the Glory World Series against Nikolaj Falin and his story is incredible, this is what life is like for former K-1 fighter Mark Miller. Mark's story is nothing short of remarkable, as we've seen by the MMAWeekly.com blog posts by Miller and heard on some of his interviews.

Mark just wrapped up filming of HDnet's MMA program Inside MMA today, which is set to air on Friday evening at 9PM Eastern time. Check out HDnet's listings for the episode, as many know, Inside MMA has a 3-guest panel for each episode. This week's episode features Mohammed "King Mo" Lawal, Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva and Mark "Fightshark" Miller, and we also hear there will be talk about this weekend's It's Showtime card from Lyon as well.

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Bloodstain Lane Wants You to Watch It's Showtime Lyon

Love him or hate him, you probably know who Bloodstain Lane is. BSL is one of the most passionate fans of combat sports anywhere around and tells it how it is. It's Showtime's Lyon card is coming up this weekend, May 14th at 4PM Eastern time in the United States on ShowtimeFights.com for 10 Euro (about 13 bucks) and is shaping up to be one of the best fight cards of the year. Here is Bloodstain Lane's latest video where BSL breaks the card down, Queens Style.

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The Return of Badr Hari: Badr vs. Mourad Bouzidi, It's Showtime Prague 2010

Badr/MouradWe draw nearer and nearer to May 14th's It's Showtime Lyon event, featuring Badr Hari's return bout. The question that we've been slowly answering over the past few weeks is why exactly should we be excited about the return of Badr Hari and where did he go?

Badr Hari had a disappointing 2008, and 2009 was primed to be the year that he finally won a K-1 World Grand Prix title, and as we looked at in our last installment, he made it to the finals again only to be stopped in short order by Semmy Schilt, the now four-time K-1 World Grand Prix Champion. For Badr Hari, this was crushing, as he had worked all year at being "good" and focusing on fighting, finishing out the year at 5 - 1.

The question for 2010 was; now what? Badr Hari had shown self control, skill and power throughout 2010, but it still wasn't enough to get two wins over Semmy Schilt. He came so very, very close to being on top of the kickboxing world, but at the last minute choked. So now it looked like for Badr Hari he must go through another year's worth of trials to give it another shot. His year started off with a bout against solid up-and-comer Mourad Bouzidi for It's Showtime in Prague, Badr was looking for blood.

Bouzidi was able to hold on for the bell in the first round, but was clearly wobbled and ready to go down like a sack of bricks before the ref stepped in. The last combination of a left hook to the jaw and a right to the body was just missing the right hook follow up to put him down on the canvas. The second round starts with an all-out assault on Bouzidi, where a left finally puts him down. Bouzidi gets up only to get put back down a mere minute later by a barrage of lefts and rights. Bouzidi somehow staggers to his feet again to come back for more. Badr finally composes himself a bit and starts throwing more calculated shots until with 10 seconds left in the round he slips in a right uppercut that sends Bouzidi down for good.

What should be noted is the calm, controlled agression of Badr Hari that we saw in 2010 was gone, this Badr Hari was throwing wild flurries again and was being super agressive, caution-to-the-wind style.

What happens next led to his one year layoff, which we'll touch upon tomorrow.

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Weekly Poll Results: Will There Be a K-1 World Grand Prix?

Poor LiverKick.com's Weekly Polls. Fraser Coffeen had to step back from the day-to-day kickboxing grind for the best of his growing family, and sadly I've been playing catch-up with a lot of the things Fraser did on a daily basis. It's safe to say that Fraser did a lot of stuff and we'll miss having him here to help out.

Anyway, onward. In our last poll we asked if there would be a K-1 Heavyweight World Grand Prix this year, and while "Yes" did win, I'm not sure that I believe you guys felt 100% about it.

56.5% of you said yes, there will be a K-1 World Grand Prix.

43.5% believe that no, there will not be.

We are still unsure of exactly what'll happen with K-1, as we were due for a K-1 announcement last week and it never happened, this all just seems par for the course. I love your optimism and I'll do my best to share it.

This week's poll is about controversial Super Heavyweight Badr Hari; Do You Think that Badr Hari is the Best (Current) Super Heavyweight in the World?

Go vote and we'll find out.

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It's Showtime Announces New Event, Fast and Furious Five 70MAX Tournament

its showtime

Today, after weeks of speculation for a big announcement, It's Showtime announced their new "Fast and Furious Five 70MAX Tournament" which will take place on September 24 in Brussels, Belgium. Many fans have expressed the desire for a one night tournament much like the K-1 World Grand Prix and now it's finally here.The winner will have to get through three fights in one night to clam a 50 000 Euro prize on top of their fight salary and win bonuses.

The event features some of the top -70kg fighters in the world with names you'll surely be familiar with. The eight participants are as follows:

1)      Giorgio Petrosyan

2)      Andy Souwer

3)      Artur Kyshenko

4)      Gago Drago

5)      Murat Direkçi

6)      Chris Ngimbi

7)      Harut Grigorian

8)      Pajunsuk Superpro Samui

The quarter finals will be drawn in Belgium by the end of June.

Also on the card will be some of the top fighters from Belgium such as Marat Grigorian who you can catch on It's Showtime Lyon this Saturday vying for the vacant 73MAX title, Marco Vlieger, Sonny Dagraed and Rustemi Kreshnik.

What's also interesting about this tournament is that this is not too far off of the regular schedule for the K-1 MAX World Grand Prix Finals. With the chances looking slim of having a K-1 MAX World Grand Prix this year, this will most likely act as the premier -70kg tournament of the year. Petrosyan, Souwer, Kyshenko and Drago have been mainstays in the K-1 MAX World Grand Prix for a while now and with them set to participate in this tournament, it makes you wonder what they would opt to do if a K-1 MAX World Grand Prix was announced around the same time as this event. Take the guaranteed money you could get for It's Showtime or venture into K-1 where the worldwide glory is, despite numerous fighters having claimed to not have been paid.

The full announcement can be seen on It's Showtime's website here.

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Petyindee Fights Live Quick Results! (Sam-A vs. Kongsak)

Big event at Lumpinee going on right now! Former fighter of the year Rungruanglek Lukprabart is slotted in the co-main event slot, but most of the focus is on Sam-A Thor Ratonakiat vs. current fighter of the year, Kongsak Sitboonme. The Muaythai2000 site has the results as they happen. http://www.muaythai2000.com/muaythai2000/showresultEn.php?sdate=10/05/2011 Video of Sam-A vs. Kongsak will likely be up on the siamsport website later today, so stay tuned. Sorry if this looks discombobulated, posting from my phone. :)
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