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Dave Walsh

Dave Walsh

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 second novel, Terminus Cycle, is available now via Kindle and Paperback.

Dave (a) LiverKick dot com | @dvewlsh

Website URL: http://www.dvewlsh.com

Weekly Poll Results

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Results from last week's poll:"Would you be interested in a K-1 women's division?"

36% - Yes, absolutely!

29% - Yes, if they get RENA

22% - No, not interested

11% - Not yet, there aren't enough fighters

2% - Not sure

This week: K-1 veteran Pat Barry was in action this weekend, defeating Joey Beltran at the UFC Fight for the Troops event.  Opinions on Barry are split, with some reports saying he used great striking to take the win, and others saying he lacked something in the victory.  What was your take?

How the Ghost of PRIDE Haunts K-1 and DREAM

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Kazuyoshi IshiiWe are all-but-done writing about FEG's financial woes. At this point what needs to be said has been said, and there is a lot of information on this topic that will never be released to the public. Until FEG makes their move, it is a dead horse that I'm sick of beating. So I've seen some articles and questions floating around that pertain to the future of DREAM and K-1, which of course revolves around television and ownership.

What many people tend to forget is way back to the death of PRIDE, the one-off event known as "Yarennoka" and the formation of DREAM. DREAM is not simple a FEG production. There is a company called "Real Entertainment" that was formed by what was left of DSE, and all of those great video packages on those DREAM events, Lenne Hardt screaming out fighters' names and even lots of the fighters themselves participating in DREAM? Thank Real Entertainment. DREAM is a co-production between RE and FEG, which is why you'll never see DREAM on Fuji TV.

So now, to fully understand how this impacts FEG, I'll hand this over to Mike Hackler of MMA-Japan.com, who did some digging and found out exactly what Real Entertainment's services mean to FEG.

FEG is in debt to Real Entertainment around $7 million USD.  Real Entertainment's involvement is a large reason why there are problems getting a TV deal done, due to the fact they still have management from DSE.  FUJI has no interest in a television deal, solely for this reason.  Real Entertainment is also responsible for paying the fighters (as to what extent, I do not know).  Many fighters contracts are with Real Entertainment and not FEG.

FEG is stuck.  Ishii owns the rights and the brand names with FEG.  This makes reorganizing the company extremely difficult, if not impossible. That said, it has been confirmed that PUJI has backed out of this altogether.  As any private equity does, FEG is reluctant to allow for managerial changes to take place.  This creates a brick wall for outside investors to get involved.

This beautifully articulates how FEG is stuck in a tough position, and some of the power struggles that are going on during this downtime for K-1 and DREAM. Many people I've spoken to have talked about (off the record, as always) Tanikawa wanting to form a new company and leave Ishii out of the business entirely, but as long as Ishii owns the name "K-1" it will be impossible to break away from his influence. [source]

Bob Sapp Speaks Out About FEG; "K-1 is extremely broke. So is DREAM."

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Bob SappWhen it rains it pours, and right now it will pour for FEG. Amid reports of FEG's financial woes and possible bankruptcy and morbid fate, Bob Sapp decided to speak out about FEG after the Dynamite!! 2010 disaster where his fight with Wakakirin never happened. Tanikawa told fans and the press that Bob Sapp attempted to renegotiate before the fight and that his "fighting spirit" was low. Seeing as though Bob Sapp made himself a millionaire in Japan, he couldn't let that sit. He spoke with MMAJunkie and some of what he said was known, some was rather shocking, like FEG not even having its own office anymore. Sapp was contracted to fight for $30,000.

Instead, he claims FEG executive Sadaharu Tanikawa offered him $15,000 shortly after he arrived in the country the week prior to the event. He refused and made a counter-offer of $25,000, a sum which he claims is half of what the promotion owed him for previous services.

...
Sapp claims he has a contract with FEG that verifies the rate of pay he was expected to receive for the Dec. 31 fight, as well as other fights, though he said the promotion has yet to honor the terms of that deal. During the promotion's heyday in the mid-2000s, he said he was routinely paid between $350,000 and $400,000 to fight.

Sapp went on to explain that K-1 and DREAM are "extremely broke" and that he has no expectations for them. Could this be the last we see of Bob Sapp in K-1 or DREAM? [source]

Why You Shouldn't Be Worried about K-1 or DREAM "Dying"

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Sudaharu TanikawaFighting Entertainment Group was formed in 2003, it came from the fallout of K-1 founder Kazuyoshi Ishii's massive tax scandal that left K-1 financially in ruins. The company's public image had also taken a hit, so the only thing to do was change. Fighting Entertainment Group (FEG) was formed, with a former pro wrestling writer, Sudaharu Tanikawa at the reigns. It was implied that the entire organization was put together by Ishii, it was to be the parent company of K-1 and all of K-1's other ventures into combat sports.

It is now 2011 and it looks like Fighting Entertainment Group is ready for the chopping block. Since this initially came out, there have been articles posted with speculation that this "clearly" means that K-1 and DREAM will go the way of the dodo. I've even seen one article go as far as to say that the UFC should swoop in and purchase their assets. I urge you to not give these articles any mind and ignore them, wholesale. The headline that NightmareOfBattle used was enough information as you'll need; "The Event Name Will Be Left, But the Promotion Will Change."

Mike Hackler of MMA-Japan.com uses his business acumen to point out why this is actually the best case scenario:

Now there are many possible scenarios here.  The way I take this comment, is similar to corporations restructuring their operations when taking bankruptcy.  They do so to shed debt, to boost liquidity, and reduce liabilities.  When this is done, the company most likely comes out smaller, yet fine tuned, able to run more efficiently.
FEG is running on a business model that was working ten years ago.  Ten years ago, they were huge.
FEG needs to model themselves after World Victory Road.  They are not what they were ten years ago.  They need to shrink and position themselves in a way that, when and if things take off again, they will be able to grow.

FEG was bloated and signs pointed to bankruptcy for a while now, shooting FEG into the ground, restructuring and coming forward as a new company could very well be exactly what they need to move forward. This would be like if Zuffa fell on rough times, would that mean that UFC would die with it? No, it has too strong of a brand and name value, think of K-1 and FEG like this.

So, Apparently "FEG Will Die" According to Tanikawa

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FEG Might be No More?That really isn't a sensationalist headline or anything, that is a quote from FEG President Tanikawa from Sports Graphic that was released the other day in Japan. This comes around the same time that Tanikawa posted on his twitter that he would "do something huge." Actually, this interview came before that tweet was pushed out to the public. Quote comes from NOB, as always.

“The current course is that FEG will die. There are probably staff members that will leave as well. The event name will be left but the promotion will change. If the current structure remains as it is it will be impossible to continue. If many investments from companies overseas do not come in we can’t survive.”

One can only really wonder what exactly will become of K-1 and DREAM. As we have been reporting from way back when we were HKL, part of the deal in place with PUJI was that FEG would need to do some serious restructuring to continue on into 2011. FEG was against major restructuring and the deal came to a standstill, when in the 11th hour PUJI and FEG came to an agreement and PUJI had found a few suitable investors for the restructured FEG.

So it looks like the FEG that we know and love will cease to exist, and in its place something new. K-1 and DREAM will continue on, and to the casual observer, there may not be too many differences. Now it is time to simply wait and see what else is announced in the coming days.

UPDATE: As always, if you use Twitter, you should follow @DanHerbertson, as he has some more quotes.

UPDATE 2: A sneaking suspicion was confirmed by Stuart Tomkin, that these quotes are indeed from the Dynamite!! post-press conference.

Remy Bonjasky's New Career: Stars Dancing on Ice

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Well, new career might be a stretch, but much like when former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell was on "Dancing with the Stars" in America, Remy Bonjasky, the Flying Gentleman will participate in "Stars Dancing on Ice" in the Netherlands, on SBS6. It is a bit lower impact than what Bonjasky is used to, but one can be assured that Bonjasky keeping himself as such a public figure is a good thing. If you heard the rumors a few weeks ago about something involving Remy and Ice Skating, yeah, this is it.

Bonjasky makes his glorious, ice skating debut on January 28th and I assure you, as long as there is footage available on the internet, LiverKick.com will hunt it down like a rabid dog so we can all bask in the glory that is a 3-time K-1 World Grand Prix Champion in tights figure skating on Dutch national television. If you still aren't buying it, well, there is video footage. Don't expect any flying kicks any time soon.

Yuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima Discusses Being a Shut-in

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How you become a hero (C) FEGThere are some peculiar things about Yuichiro Nagashima. OK, that is a ludicrous statement, there are many downright odd things about Yuichiro Nagashima, from his nickname of Jienotsu, which embodies the character he portrays, to the clothing he wears in public to play this character. Then of course is the fact that he is an obsessive anime fan and that his fanbase seems to consist entirely of "cosplaying" teens, many basically crossdressing. Nagashima talked with K-1's official site, and he knew that the odds were against him going into the fight.

-- Honestly, did you think you would lose.
Jienotsu: I wanted to finish it in the first round and I didn't really imagine I would win in the second. I thought I would do my best, and when I won I was like, "That's what K-1 is all about!" I really felt like I'm the new face if K-1. I did what Masato couldn't do, right?
-- There were a lot of DREAM fans there so the whole arena reacted when you won.
Jienotsu: I heard it was the biggest rated moment of the night. I'm up against non-fightfans. That means they don't know much about K-1. And I'm sure that there are DREAM fans that don't care about K-1. I think I engaged all those people. I think I got them to feel that they might want to at least watch my fights.
-- Did you see the reaction on the Internet?
Jienotsu: I followed on 'Channel 2' (Japan's most popular BBS). Before the fight people were like, "I wonder which bone Jienotsu will get broken". I showed them. Things change so quickly on the net. People looked at the fight and some said, "I guess cosplay isn't that bad" which made me happy.

Nagashima is always looking out for cosplayers' rights everywhere, I guess. Nagashima also has a new book out entitled JiDENotsu that tells his life story, up until the last few months, and if you have to wonder exactly what kind of things he overcame to become the fighter he is now, well, behold.

-- What's in it?
Jienotsu: How I went from shut-in and bullied kid to martial artist to K-1 Japan champion. What inspired me to try hard. It's a book with a lot of "moe" (fan spirit).
-- What kind of person do you want to read it?
Jienotsu: I hope people who are lost and confused read it. People who are shut-ins.

If you are a shut-in or gender confused with K-1 aspirations, take a page from Nagashima's book, you might end up a MAX Japan champion and have the scalp of one of the best MMA fighters in the world to show off to your peers. [source]

Watch Yuichiro Nagashima Celebrate Post-Fight at Dynamite!!

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We all love honesty when it comes in our favorite fighters; a straight-forward attitude, humility and admittance that they are indeed mortal just like you and me. They get scared. Well, most fighters do, not everybody is Alistair Overeem, who knows when he is walking to the ring that it will just be a matter of time before someone lays in a pool of their own blood before him. Going into his Mixed Rules bout at Dynamite!! against Shinya Aoki, Yuichiro Nagashima knew what he had to do; he had to get out there and knock Aoki out in the first round. Aoki used his brain to avoid contact with Nagashima all throughout the K-1 rules round, which lead into the MMA rules portion of the bout, where Nagashima was in deep, deep water against one of the best MMA grapplers in the world. After the boisterous, over-the-top entrance from Nagashima, to lose would be a shame, but when you saw the look on his face and the concern of his trainers going into the second round, you saw a defeated man.

The flying knee that connected not only shocked Aoki, but it shocked Nagashima as well. Watch this video of Nagashima as he heads to the back after the bout and watch him coming down from his adrenaline rush and just how lucky he knows he was for scoring that knockout. He even vows to never, ever do MMA again and that he was "so scared!"

Remy Bonjasky and Fighting for Success

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Few things are more exciting than a fighter that throws caution to the wind. One that's willing to lay it all on the line to entertain the fans and make sure everyone in attendance sees a good show. As fight fans, we cheer most intensely for those that have one goal in mind: to show no quarter and destroy or be destroyed. It's a recipe for success in gaining fans and there are those that have parlayed that style into a legendary career. But what about those that don't walk that thin line between success and failure? The fighters that place winning above entertainment.

Tomas Rios Breaks Down Alistair Overeem's Striking

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Alistair OvereemThere are a few writers out there who have gotten a bad rap over the past few years, Tomas Rios is one of them, after the whole "Joe Rogan got Rios fired" thread from the Underground Forum happened a few months ago that also involved some poor word choices. The truth is, Rios knows what he is doing, and his new blog is a breath of fresh air when he posts something new.

Rios takes a look at Alistair Overeem's absolutely astounding December where he ripped through top competition in K-1 to become the K-1 World Grand Prix Champion as well as his hilarious dismantling of Todd Duffee, a fighter who was on the "UFC-level" before his bad attitude got him fired. Rios takes a slow-motion, blow-by-blow look at the turning points in each fight and comes to a conclusion that you haven't seen a lot of people wanting to admit; Alistair Overeem is really, really good.

In his last four fights the same storyline has played out -- a single, careless mistake is made and the response is a fundamentally flawless display of pure violence. The X-factor here isn't Overeem's size, strength or anything else that is won in the genetic lottery or gained in weight rooms.

What makes Overeem so singular in combat sports is that he is a 6'5", 260 lb. heavyweight who has the striking technique to dismantle all comers and the kind of cutthroat finishing instincts that can't be explained, they can only be admired. By the way, take another look at the GIFs [included] and something else should catch your eye -- Overeem was doing work from both the orthodox and southpaw stance.

Go and read the full article for a breakdown of each fight and to see just how incredible Ubereem really is.

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