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How K-1 Blew it and Let the UFC Become Huge on Spike TV

  • Published in K-1

K-1

This video is both fascinating and frustrating, as Albie Hecht, the founder of Spike TV sits down to talk about how the deal between Spike TV and the UFC first came to be. As we all know, the UFC's deal with Spike TV happened and it opened up the market to MMA and helped to save the UFC from an untimely demise. The UFC and MMA in general might have never "boomed" if it weren't for the support of Spike TV.

What's the worst part as a Kickboxing fan? Knowing that it could have been K-1 instead, but that Ishii and K-1 in general back then kind of blew it by being as shady as we all knew that they were. This video is utterly fascinating in that Spike went FIRST to Japan to speak with K-1 before the UFC and that Ishii believing that Hecht insulted his geisha led to K-1 being more than just a Japanese brand and possibly the biggest combat sports brand in the world went up in smoke just like that.

As we've known, K-1 rarely thought about the American market in a serious way, as multiple K-1 USA heads (Scott Coker and Mike Kogan) have spoke about how shows in the US were geared towards Japanese audiences and television and more for saying that they ran shows in the US than to build up the brand and sport here in America. Even when both tried to build up K-1 in the USA, K-1 seemed disinterested in any money coming from the US. Just bonkers. We all do remember K-1 blowing it in China a few years ago, too, right? FIKA? Thanks to our old mothership for the discovery.

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Highlights Going Into Dynamite!! 2010 For Japanese TV

  • Published in K-1

Dynamite 2010 is fast-approaching, and while the entire card hasn't been finalized yet, for the most part, it has. It is safe to say that the card is epic, featuring 15 fights. This goes against FEG's wishes to tone down Dynamite!! this year into a 10-bout affair, but things did not work out that way. There were issues with TBS possibly not airing the card, financial woes and internal struggles at FEG. Since the PUJI deal finally came to fruition, Dynamite!! has once again become a mastodon of an event.

We are going to split our pre-show coverage up into two parts: this first part is what is of key interest to the Japanese crowds and why they are, the second is what is of key interest to Western audiences.

If you are Japanese, the highlights of the evening will most likely be some of the more odd fights. Katsuaki Furuki vs. Andy Ologun might sound like a terrible freakshow, and to a degree it is, but Ologun is a legitimate fighter. His MMA and K-1 record are not entirely impressive, but he is skilled enough to put a hurting on Furuki. Furuki was a popular baseball star, playing most of his career for the Yokohama Bay Stars. 2003 and 2006 saw him look extremely impressive, but from there he fell off a bit. He finished out his career with the Orix Buffaloes and retired after the 2009 season before taking up martial arts. He looked to make his debut at DEEP 50, but instead held off for Dynamite!!

The other freakshow for ratings is an "IGF" rules bout. IGF is Inoki Genome Federation -- professional wrestling -- and both men have a history of professional wrestling, with Sapp being a one-time New Japan Pro Wrestling competitor, holding the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, a belt originated by Inoki. His opponent is shamed sumo Wakakirin Shinichi. Wakakirin was kicked out of sumo for possession of marijuana, basically, which in Japan is very, very shameful (see: Kid Yamamoto). Wakakirin has wrestled for Inoki before and basically works as stiff (read: real) as possible. The IGF rules are essentially old Pancrase rules of no closed-fist strikes to the face, and as of right now it isn't clear how real or worked this will be. I don't think it matters, honestly, as it is a throwaway bout for Japanese audiences.

Minowaman will most likely take his place opening up the televised portion of the show like he is known to do, and do so in a bout against Judoka Hiroshi Izumi. Minowa was the only MMA fighter in Japan to make the Nikkan Sports list last year, with Masato at the top and assorted K-1 fighters and boxers rounding out the list. To say that Ikuhisa Minowa is a national treasure is maybe taking it a bit too far, but he is immensely popular. He will never be the favorite fighter in Japan, but he will always have a following and name for his accomplishments. He faces a tough challenge in Izumi. Izumi will at least not be dwarfing Minowa in weight.

Last but not least is Satoshi Ishii vs. Jerome Le Banner. JLB finds himself in the unenviable spot of facing Japan's only prospect to be a breakout star in a post-KID Yamamoto and post-Masato world. Jerome Le Banner of course has trouble defending against takedowns and throws, which are Ishii's specialty. Le Banner has what many will call a puncher's chance, but the truth is, Ishii has shown a tendency to "stand and bang" in his fights, which against JLB is a death warrant. In his last fight with Katsuyori Shibata, Ishii wisely took him down and submitted him, something he did not have luck against Ikuhisa Minowa with (although he did dominate Minowa). This is a big deal for Ishii, as he has gotten in some practice, he has tasted defeat, is he ready to carry Japan's fight scene on his shoulders, and is Japan ready to make him the next big star? Or is he just not enough of a pretty boy and not witty enough?

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FEG's Bankruptcy Makes Waves in Japan

  • Published in K-1

K-1 BankruptFighting Entertainment Group, best known as FEG, has gotten an incredibly bad rep after the past few years, and rightfully so. The sad part is, this led to the K-1 name being dragged through not only the mud, but the pig pen. K-1 is now under new ownership, but a lot of this news has apparently yet to really hit Japan. Tony L and Go Yamamoto, whom I greatly respect and have always been on the ball, published this article on Sherdog that quite simply seems out of date and will simply confuse many fans who have been following this closely. If anything, it reflects the understanding of K-1's current situation in Japan or if you aren't reading LiverKick on a regular basis; hazy, at best.

K-1 Global Holdings has made no ifs about it, their focus is on the United States. Their plan is for three events in the United States in 2012, including the K-1 WGP USA Qualifying Tournament in Los Angeles, the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16 in Miami and K-1 World Grand Prix Finals in New York.

Today Tanikawa made a public statement, which was published on the FEG official website, confirming that indeed, FEG and himself were beyond broke.

e it gets confusing is how it has been appearing in the media. The same day that Masato appeared to the media alongside Mike Kim to talk about K-1 in Madrid, newspapers in Japan were running headlines stating "K-1 Bankrupt." They were talking about FEG, but there has been very little K-1 news in Japan and even less buzz about K-1 Global Holdings and the "new management" before Masato's appearance.

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Former FEG Head Sadaharu Tanikawa Producing GLORY 13 Tokyo

  • Published in Glory

Tany

In what is an absolutely stunning turn of events, former FEG President Sadaharu Tanikawa, best known as K-1's Executive Producer, has been announced as the Producer behind GLORY 13. The shocking announcement went down today in Japan, which came packaged with the fact that this should also be the retirement fight of Peter Aerts, which seems to be the public impetus behind Tanikawa's involvement. There is very clear language involved to this being a "one time deal" between Tanikawa and GLORY, but facts are still facts and Tanikawa owes a lot of the fighters rumored to be participating on the event money.

What makes this an even stranger partnership is the very public assaults from Bas Boon towards Tanikawa in the past few years. Boon has made it clear that Tanikawa's FEG owes Golden Glory millions of dollars and it was Bas Boon's lawsuit against Tanikawa and FEG that forced them to formally declare bankruptcy in 2012. It is our understanding that none of the money owed was ever paid out by FEG due to the bankruptcy proceedings and the shame is that K-1 Global has taken the reputation of FEG and Tanikawa with them while having nothing to do with them. The irony also comes from claims from Golden Glory that K-1 Global's Mr. Kim was associated with Tanikawa and FEG, with this move making it very clear that there was never a partnership.

Even with all of this, I'm not willing to condemn anyone here. Tanikawa, from what is public, was in an awful position of organizing a corrupt organization. Japanese bankruptcy law is also odd, too odd for me to even pretend to be an expert on or to be able to properly navigate. The money owed is still through FEG. It's just odd to see these two sides working together.

For what it's worth, there is talk of a "major television deal" possibly happening and Fuji TV officials being in attendance was mentioned in the same article, aligning with rumors we've heard.

Happy Halloween?

UPDATE: Upon speaking to a GLORY official about this, we've learned that the role of "Producer" has been exaggerated. He will be serving as a consultant for the Super Fight Series undercard only.

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