There has been a lot of talk about K-1 over the past few months, especially some of the difficulties that they've faced since EMCOM and Mr. Kim took over operations. K-1 was looking to finally make a big impact on the United States by booking an event in Ohio during the Arnold Classic Expo, which is attended by thousands of fans yearly. This was to be the second show on US soil in the span of the year, the last time was when Doug Kaplan was in charge of K-1's US operations and began to turn things around before his relationship with the company fell apart. K-1 is now being run in the US by New York's Andrew Oh and this report from FCFighter.com by Joshua Molina is pretty damning towards the new K-1 USA team.
It is mainly an interview with the would-be promoter of the event, Russ Trapini, who was previously involved with K-1 USA when FEG was still around and was tapped again to help promote events in the United States. You can really see how frustrated he is with the situation and he even goes as far as to say that K-1 is done in the United States, a statement that is difficult for us to disagree with.
The Athletic Commission gave some reasons for the cancellation, including paperwork and certain other things, but Trapini flat out says that it was money. He also notes Mr. Kim trying to shoehorn SuperKombat fighters onto the fight card due to an agreement between K-1 and SuperKombat and lack of communication.
The money argument aligns with the reports that we here at LiverKick.com have been privy to. In fact, what we know about the situation is frustrating from all accounts and to the best of our knowledge hasn't really been discussed outside of smaller Kickboxing circles. The rumored reason has been that the money which was supposed to cover costs for the K-1 Ohio event was used as an upfront payment to Badr Hari to secure his services for the K-1 World Grand Prix Finals. It was supposedly hand-delivered to Badr Hari in cash and has put a serious financial strain on the company.