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Exclusive Simon Rutz Interview

  • Published in Interviews

SimonRutzAmidst all the bad K-1 news, Europe’s top fighting organization, It’s Showtime, has been a hot topic of conversation lately.  As plans for 2011 come together, we’re seeing more and more events announced by the company, who find themselves constantly expanding their product throughout the world.  But in the middle of all the positive news came an unfortunate announcement last week – due to a planned co-promotion with K-1 falling through, It’s Showtime would not run their big annual show at the Amsterdam Arena in 2011.

Between this latest news, all the rumors swirling around K-1, Badr Hari’s return, and various other stories, now seemed like a good time to speak to the always forthcoming It’s Showtime president Simon Rutz.  As always, Mr. Rutz offered plenty of insight into their dealings with K-1 and so much more.

Read on for part 1 of this 2 part exclusive LiverKick.com interview, as we get the story on exactly what happened with the canceled Amsterdam Arena event and the state of affairs for K-1 and It’s Showtime.

LiverKick.com: It’s a shame you may not run in the Amsterdam Arena this year. When did you begin to think this show might not happen?

Simon Rutz: We have already known for many years that K-1 has big problems, but a few months ago they said to me that they have a new investor.  That was the reason why I agreed to cooperate on the Amsterdam Arena event in May this year.  Around Christmas I felt that there was something wrong with their situation because they didn’t answer my requests anymore.

LK: What were the plans for the show? Did you have fighters already lined up?

SR: When It’s Showtime and K-1 cooperate I always give my suggestions, and most of the time they use them.  My suggestions for this year were: Badr Hari vs. Gokhan Saki; Peter Aerts vs. Tyrone Spong; and Hesdy Gerges vs. Alistair Overeem, Errol Zimmerman, or someone else.

LK: We’ve heard a lot about K-1 not paying fighters, and I know Giorgio Petrosyan had problems with that last year. Are there It’s Showtime or Black Label fighters who are waiting to be paid by K-1?

SR: Yes, the following fighters have not been paid for a fight: Melvin Manhoef, Tyrone Spong, Daniel Ghita, Hesdy Gerges, Gago Drago, Pajonsuk, Dzevad Poturak, Chahid, and Giorgio Petrosyan still needs his win bonus from the last K-1 MAX tournament.  It is a lot of money! I never let our fighters fight before they are paid for their last fight.  I hear that some other fighters haven’t gotten their money for 4 fights.  It is a sad situation for all the fighters.

LK:  Given all these problems, what, in your opinion, does K-1 need to do to survive?

SR: They need a lot of money, and they must ask my advice (and do something with that advice) because they do a lot of stupid things.

LK: If they don’t get that money, and they don’t survive, what will it mean for kickboxing and for It’s Showtime?

SR: If they don’t survive it is very bad for the sport and for many fighters.  For It’s Showtime, it would mean that we are the number 1 kickboxing organization in the world and everybody will look to us.  We are getting busy like never before.  We have already seen a movement from K-1 to It’s Showtime.  Almost every day I talk with people around the world who want to organize an It’s Showtime event in their country.

LK: Would you ever consider buying out K-1?

SR: Why should I do that?  I have my own brand and company who is healthy and is going very well.  Also, what am I buying then?  Only a lot of problems!  The [K-1] name is very strong, but I already have a good name.  I will keep my money in my pocket!

LK: You said you are talking with people around the world, and this looks like a huge year for you with new events in England, Germany, and Spain. Any details on those shows?

SR: Our schedule for the year is now: March 6 – Amsterdam, Holland; March 26 – Brussels, Belgium; May 14 – Lyon, France (not signed yet); May – Manheim, Germany (not signed yet); June 11 – Warsaw, Poland; July 23 – Sochi, Russia; August 27 – Sarajevo, Bosnia; September 18 – Amsterdam, Holland; September 24 – Manchester, England (not signed yet); October 8 – Geneva, Switzerland; End of December in Amsterdam for the It’s Showtime Christmas Edition again.  We are also talking about It’s Showtime events in Spain, Ukraine, and Australia.  As you see, we are really busy.  We have at least 10 big events this year, maybe 12.

LK: You know I have to ask – any further info on possibly running in the United States?

SR: I am getting more and more interest for It’s Showtime events in the US.  Last week, one of the TV stations from the US bought our It’s Showtime events, so that is starting.  I also am speaking with several people to see what the possibilities are in the US.  But when we start, we will start slowly with events for 2,000 people.

LK:  With all this expansion, where do you want It’s Showtime to be in 2 years?

SR: Pff......... 6 months ago I said that in 5 years It’s Showtime would organize between 15 and 20 events a year, but we are going so fast, maybe next year we will already be doing 15 events a year!

Check back tomorrow for the conclusion of this interview as we discuss Remy Bonjasky’s retirement, Cosmo Alexandre, the Hesdy Gerges/Semmy Schilt controversy, and of course, Badr Hari.

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Simon Rutz Interview Part 2

  • Published in Interviews

Simon RutzAmidst all the bad K-1 news, Europe’s top fighting organization, It’s Showtime, has been a hot topic of conversation lately. As plans for 2011 come together, we’re seeing more and more events announced by the company, who find themselves constantly expanding their product throughout the world. But in the middle of all the positive news came an unfortunate announcement last week – due to a planned co-promotion with K-1 falling through, It’s Showtime would not run their big annual show at the Amsterdam Arena in 2011.

Between this latest news, all the rumors swirling around K-1, Badr Hari’s return, and various other stories, now seemed like a good time to speak to the always forthcoming It’s Showtime president Simon Rutz. As always, Mr. Rutz offered plenty of insight into their dealings with K-1 and so much more.

If you missed part 1 yesterday, click here for the story on exactly what happened with the canceled Amsterdam Arena event and the state of affairs for K-1 and It’s Showtime.

LiverKick.com Exclusive Interview with Simon Rutz Part 2

LiverKick.com: It’s very exciting to hear Badr Hari will return in May in Lyon. Is that fight confirmed?

Simon Rutz: It is not confirmed yet because the contract is not signed, but I think we will have the contract signed in 2 weeks.

LK: Any news on his return opponent?

SR: At this moment we are talking with possible opponents.

LK: Where do his legal troubles stand?

SR: Nobody knows what will happen in the future with this case! This case was big in the news in The Netherlands, but from what I understand, the police still don’t have any witnesses.

LK: So do you have concerns about Hari’s reputation considering the trouble kickboxing recently had with the government in Amsterdam?

SR: Of course it doesn’t help! But these are two totally different cases. Amsterdam wants to have big sports events in their city, but with one of the biggest events (It’s Showtime), they make it difficult. When we don’t run show in the future in Amsterdam, it will be a shame for the city, but not for It’s Showtime. We will survive with or without Amsterdam.

LK: Remy Bonjasky is working with It’s Showtime now. Have you discussed him having a retirement fight with you?

SR: Yes, I discussed a retirement fight for him, but the money he asked for I don’t want to pay! Of course he can ask, but believe me, nobody will pay him that much money!

LK: How did you feel about K-1’s response to the protest regarding the Hesdy Gerges vs. Semmy Schilt fight?

SR: What they said and did was bullshit. They say that the corner for Schilt was wrong, and they punished the judges? I understand why K-1 did this, because last year they didn’t get Badr Hari and Remy Bonjasky, so they needed the 4 time K-1 winner Semmy Schilt in the final. I think if Hesdy Gerges was in the final, it would have been a totally different final.

LK: You had an unfortunate falling out with Cosmo Alexandre last year. Why couldn’t that situation be worked out?

SR: Because it was the second time he did something wrong. But for me there’s no problem. He is a nice guy and a good fighter, but I don’t use him anymore.

LK: I understand your clause regarding fighters taking fights before It’s Showtime shows – is that written in to their contracts?

SR: It’s always written in their contract, but with Cosmo, we didn’t write the contract because, stupid as I am sometime, a word from me is more important than a contract. But don’t misunderstand me, in 99% of the cases we have a contract!

LK: Tyrone Spong is no longer the 95kg champ. Any idea when there will be a fight for that title, and who might fight for it?

SR: Yes, I am working on that and I think that 2 fighters are fighting for this title on March 6 in Amsterdam. Soon I will let everybody know.

LK: Melvin Manhoef said on twitter that he likely won’t fight for It’s Showtime this year. Might he be stripped of the 85kg belt?

SR: If he doesn’t fight for his title, yes I will strip him of the belt because those are the rules! But Melvin is Melvin, one day he says that and the other day he thinks differently. Also, if he doesn’t fight this year for It’s Showtime and K-1 is broke, who else can pay him? Last time Melvin was disappointed because K-1 didn’t treat him well and that’s the case.

LK: What are your personal favorite fights in It’s Showtime history?

SR: Badr Hari vs. Sem Schilt, Mootje Khamal vs. Chahid, Ivan Hipolyte vs. Rayen Simson, Rob Kaman vs. Alexei Ignashov, and almost all the fights from Gago Drago.

LK: Last year when I spoke to you and asked who we should watch for in 2010, you brought up Aussi Ouzgni, who then had a great year. So, who should we watch out for in 2011?

SR: Marat Grigorian is one of the biggest talents in the world. Watch him.

LK: Anything else our readers should know?

SR: A lot of people think that It’s Showtime is happy that K-1 is broke, but believe me we hope that K-1 survives. That’s really better for the sport. Also personally I like the people from FEG like Mr. Tanikawa, but in my opinion they do a lot of strange things. For many years I have said to them that they must do things differently but every time they do the opposite. I think that they were afraid of It’s Showtime, but that is totally not necessary. The world is big enough for two good and big kickboxing organizations. Also, I want to say that life is beautiful! Carpe Diem!

 

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Fallout from Glory Purchasing It's Showtime, K-1 Left in the Cold and in Trouble

  • Published in Kickboxing

I feel like there is so much going on in the Kickboxing world right now that it is difficult to really pinpoint exactly where to start. I feel like watching the above video by FightstarTV is a good start if any, as Bas Boon discusses some of the implications of the purchase of It's Showtime. Firstly, there is talk about the future of Simon Rutz within the organization and how he will continue to play a big role, which to many will be a relief. Then, there is talk about possibly keeping the It's Showtime name alive much like the Strikeforce name is still alive even though the UFC owns it.

To shift gears, I've had a lot of people asking my "why" over the past 24 hours and seen a lot of questions online on forums and Twitter. After speaking with a few people close to the situation as well as a few people who were working at the show yesterday, it appears that Simon Rutz and It's Showtime's partnership with K-1 blew up in their faces and put them in a financial predicament. Apparently, Rutz and It's Showtime had paid for the K-1 Rising in Madrid show in its entirety and due to using the K-1 name, did not get their usual sponsors and co-promoters to help them cover costs. The expectations were that K-1 would pay for these costs, as promised. After a few days had passed and the money had not materialized, Rutz and Glory began talks which have persisted over the past month and finally culminated on Saturday when the deal was signed.

To put it bluntly, K-1 Global has their first true scandal on their hands and it took them less than six months of operations to get there. While there have been press releases over the past week or so from K-1 Global and statements from Doug Kaplan about finding great talent at the Muscle Beach Open Tryouts, the truth staring back at them in the mirror is in one fell swoop their partnership with It's Showtime, which provided them with 90% of their talent, is gone. Of the World MAX Final 16 they just held, a staggering ten of the fighters were under It's Showtime contracts, five of the Final 8. From the Super Fights it appears that only Mirko Cro Cop is left. We had originally believed Badr Hari to be under direct contract to them, and he was, but according to sources close to him and his management, the contract was breached when the money was not paid within the allotted time period, so they are considering the contract null and void. We've heard other fighters had K-1 contracts and are simply not sure yet how they will play out in the end, most are not confident in fighting for K-1 again and trying to get out of said contracts.

Obviously, this is a disaster for K-1. All it took was one weekend and a good chunk of the talent they were going to rely upon have seemingly fallen from their grasp and stories are being spread about K-1 Global not paying their bills on time, taking after their predecessors at FEG.

What we do know for certain is we are entering a new age in Kickboxing and the big brand that has meant everything might not have that same value as we all originally believed, in the coming months Glory can do a lot to prove that new brands can be easily forged in combat sports and that it is the talent and management that makes something special.

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HDnet Will Air Tyrone Spong vs. Melvin Manhoef... Later

Part of our main concern going into next weekend's It's Showtime 55 is that for some reason, Melvin Manhoef vs. Tyrone Spong is on the undercard. It's Showtime's broadcasts are a set length and currently their cards are in two parts, with "Part 2" being televised and "Part 1" usually being in some void somewhere that we don't get to view. We and many fans have expressed our concerns to It's Showtime and I reached out to Andrew Simon of HDnet to see what's up, and we have good news for you.

HDnet will indeed be airing the main portion of the card live next Saturday, at 3pm Eastern time. They will not be airing the first part, but HDnet will be airing the Melvin Manhoef vs. Tyrone Spong fight, according to Andrew Simon. It will air at a later date, which has not been disclosed yet, but HDnet has a lot of options for airing, including Inside MMA, HDnet's weekly fights they put online or just the entire undercard at a later date. Stay tuned for more.

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Simon Rutz Possibly Finished With Promoting in the Netherlands

  • Published in Its Showtime

Big news coming from the Netherlands as Simon Rutz has been making the media rounds to promote the huge It's Showtime 55 event taking place in Leeuwarden. Leeuwarden was an interesting choice, as it was obviously not It's Showtime's home base when compared to Amsterdam. Apparently Rutz is upset with the recent events within his home country that revolve around the BIBOB law. BIBOB, for those unaware, is a law where local officials are able to require local businesspeople to acquire  a license through them after going through a background check to ensure that there are no criminal elements within the organization. For It's Showtime we've seen this law rear its ugly head in Amsterdam, canceling the December event on short notice due to BIBOB restrictions.

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Yasuhiro Kido: "I Received Fight Money From K-1 Global"

  • Published in K-1

KidoThe rumor mill has been turning about K-1 Global in the past few days, and instead of the rumors coming from upset fighters and managers like it was in the past, this time it was from some of the more powerful titans of the world of kickboxing. K-1 Global forged a partnership with It's Showtime's Simon Rutz, with Rutz and It's Showtime's team helping to promote, produce and essentially handle the entire event in Madrid. According to Rutz, K-1 Global has neglected to pay for the event or the fighters, which has led to a historic event of Glory Sports International and It's Showtime coming to an agreement, with It's Showtime being purchased by GSI and becoming a part of the Glory family.

It appears that this could just be attributed to fighters associated with Simon Rutz and It's Showtime, although we have yet to hear much yet. Yasuhiro Kido aparently spoke out about his situation on his twitter, and he says that he was paid.

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