Ah summer, with love in the air and celebrity gossip magazines there to take candid shots of them and repost them with scandalous headlines. That is your life if you are Kickboxing superstar Badr Hari and you find yourself involved with Dutch soccer legend Ruud Gullit's wife, Estelle Gullit, going as far as said wife leaving her superstar husband and taking up a serious relationship with you. This photo is courtesy of Marloes Coenen's twitter. As we wait to find out if Badr will be fighting for Glory or not, we are instead treated to photographs of him enjoying his life. Good for him.
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.
As a Kickboxing fan, there isn't a lot that can give me true pause anymore, but this video that surfaced of Gokhan Saki training at Mike's Gym did. Not because of the ridiculous rumors of Saki leaving Golden Glory, as we've already established that with Cor Hemmers taking on more responsibilities within the GLORY organization, he doesn't have the time to focus on his fighters, which means that Saki has decided to train at Mike's Gym while still fighting for Glory and being a part of the team. Anyway, what gave me pause was the fact that there is already video of Gokhan Saki sparring with Melvin Manhoef at Mike's Gym.
Albert Kraus has talked about doing pro boxing from time to time over the years, including this year. He recently talked about how he would finally make his boxing debut this year and how he was very happy with how GLORY were treating him and how they were allowing him to give boxing a try.
Kraus will make his boxing debut on September 2 in The Hague, Netherlands on Muay Thai Mania, promoted by Extreme Promotions. A rematch between Nieky Holzken and L'houcine "Aussie" Ouzgni is also supposed to take place on this event.
Kraus recently started up an official Facebook page, where himself and his team have been updating it fairly frequently. Among the updates are a lot of pictures of him training boxing, most notably with currently undefeated English heavyweight boxer, Tyson Fury and his dad/trainer, Peter Fury.
I like this move for Kraus, as it's always nice to get another look at things in the ring and to sharpen up his hands. A lot of kickboxers have tried their hands at boxing, some with success and others without much, but I think this is a good idea for Kraus to stay active and sharp.