Sadaharu Tanikawa went on a talk show the other day to clear the air about a few persisting FEG/K-1 rumors. The FEG camp has been notoriously quiet and hard to deal with during their period of restructuring, which has included fighters not being paid their promised purses. One can say that this is simply "business as usual" for the Japanese company who is known to put clauses in their contracts that they might not pay fighters for a full six months after they fight.
There have been many voices that have spoken out over the past year, but one of the most surprising has been Sugar Ray Sefo. Sefo is a K-1 legend and has had a very good working relationship with them for many years now. If any fighter were to know how business is done with K-1, it would be Sefo. It all started when the American contact within FEG, Mike Kogan, parted ways with FEG. For many fighters, Kogan was who they would directly deal with, who would be the go-between and make everything a bit easier to deal with. People have given Kogan flack over the past few years, but he is a veteran of the martial arts world and knows the ins and outs very well.
Tanikawa told fighters they were to deal with him directly now, of course, Tanikawa does not exactly speak English very well. This interview with Tanikawa is really a must-read, as it contains a lot of information about the future of K-1 and DREAM on top of the usual fluff. Some of the topics are just out there, like Spike TV was in negotiations with K-1 until the manager they were in talks with was fired and Spike TV went with UFC. He also fired another blow over the bow at main rival It's Showtime, claiming that K-1 has "no rivals" and that It's Showtime does great in Amsterdam but not well outside of there, which we know is a lot of hot air.
There is a key word coming up in regards to the World Grand Prix, and that is if. IF K-1 decides to run a World Grand Prix, it won't start until late summer, and he also states that there will not be any large scale shows until later on in the year, fall or later.
Then comes the bit about pay, where he claims that all fighters, including Ray Sefo, have been paid. Our good friend Mike Hackler at MMA-Japan.com reached out to Ray Sefo to ask if he had received the $700,000 he was owed, and the response was that no, he was not paid yet. There is still a lot of uncertainty right now and while the public face that FEG is pushing out is one that is fixing itself, one has to wonder what is really going on behind closed doors.