|Heavyweight (Per 4/15)|
|Light HW (per 4/15)|
|Middleweight (per 4/15)|
|Welterweight (per 4/15)|
|4.||Marc de Bonte|
|70kg (Per 4/15)|
|3.||Robin van Roosmalen|
|65kg (per 1/20)|
We 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]Add a comment
After a year of inactivity, Badr Hari will make his return to action in the It's Showtime ring. With K-1 on a hiatus for the moment, and nothing planned or announced as of yet, It's Showtime has been reeling off the show announcements, with a tentative plan for ten or more shows within 2011. In May It's Showtime will make their way to Lyon, France, where Badr Hari will make his return to action against a to-be-decided opponent.
According to Dutch newspaper, De Telegraaf, Simon Rutz has gotten a verbal agreement for the bout and the opponent should be decided within the next two weeks.
"Badr makes his comeback in May," Rutz commented to De Telegraaf. "Hopefully Badr will be doing what he does best: fighting in the ring. He must show that he is among the best fighters in the world."
The fight that fans want to see the most would be against Hesdy Gerges, who is currently booked to fight on March 6th, taking on Daniel Ghita. At It's Showtime's christmas show at the Sands, they also announced that he would be defending his title, most likely at the ArenA show. With the ArenA show not happening, one can only speculate that they will try to assemble a rematch between the two a year later.
There are a plethora of match-ups involving Badr Hari that fans would love to see, including a rubber match against current K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, Alistair Overeem, but Overeem might be tied up in the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP and be unable to make a fight in May. Nod to Simon Raedts for diligently reading de Telegraaf and alerting us to the news.Add a comment
New fight announcement here coming from Spain: on February 5, former K-1 MAX and Shootboxing S-Cup champion Andy Souwer will be in action. Souwer, our #3 ranked middleweight fighter, will be facing Spanish fighter Abraham Roqueni in the main event of a show billed as El Desafio K-1 ("The Challenge" in English). The fight is 3 X 3 minute rounds, K-1 rules, at 70kg.
It's good to see Souwer back in action here. The normally busy Souwer had a relatively slow 2010, as he spent much of the year recovering from an eye injury, as well as searching for a new home after being ousted from K-1 MAX. But Souwer has often spoken of his desire to fight frequently, so a busy schedule against various opponents suits him well. Obviously, Souwer is the massive favorite here, but Roqueni may be game to make this an interesting fight. Nicknamed "The Demon", Roqueni has been around for a few years, competing in Muay Thai and various other styles, and he holds a win over Jose Reis. Check out the Highlight reel on Roqueni below - he's aggressive, and combines KO power with some devastating kicks, especially leg kicks. If he pushes Souwer, this could be fun. Souwer however always has the ability to take his opponents right out of their games, drawing them into a technical battle that they can't win, and there's a good chance we'll see that on Feb. 5.
The rest of the card includes a number of Spanish fighter, with a few fights of interest to international fight fans. Germany's Dennis Schneidmiller faces Fran Palenzuela. Hafid El Boustati, who defeated Chahid Oulad El Hadj at this time last year, faces Manuel Hinojo. And Oliver Tinda faces Younnes El Mhassani, the man rumored to be challenging Artem Levin in It's Showtime in March.
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There is a sad state of affairs in the kickboxing world right now, mostly revolving around the turmoil happening within FEG. Sadly, there is some collateral damage when it comes to FEG's financial and organizational woes by the way of Netherlands kickboxing powerhouse It's Showtime. It's Showtime has for the past few years ran in the Amsterdam ArenA, a large-scale arena, hosting kickboxing's biggest non-K-1 event. There wasn't much word on the show for the past few months, but the assumption was always that it would happen, regardless of any outside forces, as It's Showtime has been expanding and putting on bigger and better shows.
According to Simon Rutz today, he has officially put the final nail in the coffin of the May ArenA show, and sadly it all rests on the shoulders of K-1. K-1 has partnered with It's Showtime in the annual ArenA show, exchanging talent, helping cover production costs and assembling the card in 2006, 2007 and 2008. The last two years it has been an It's Showtime exclusive, but in 2011 it was going to be a joint production between It's Showtime and K-1. It's Showtime held up their end of the bargain, but were simply waiting on K-1 to complete the matchmaking as per the agreement. Rutz explains his frustrations:
However, after months of asking questions by email, text messages, personally and by telephone we never got an answer from K-1 regarding the fight card. We had set a deadline for the fight card for January 11, because otherwise there would be too little time for us to organize everything before May 21.
It was January 18 when K-1 finally told me that it isn’t able to put the fight card together, because many fighters who have fought for K-1 still have to get their money, and K-1 can’t negotiate with fighters whom K-1 still owes money to. For a long time it’s not a secret anymore that K-1 is in bad financial problems and that it’s still the question whether they will survive this crisis. FEG (K-1) tries to do everything in its power to get out of this crisis but the negotiations with potential investors are stagnating for a year already.
Rutz goes on to talk about how his company, Black Label, that manages many of K-1's biggest stars, from Melvin Manhoef, Badr Hari, Giorgio Petrosyan, Gago Drago and Hesdy Gerges, has been patient and helped K-1 financially, they need to draw the line somewhere.
We from IT’S SHOWTIME have tried to help K-1 in every area the last couple of years and we have been very merciful regarding the payments of our fighters. The debts keep increasing in a very fast pace, though. According to FEG, everything will be alright but everything takes more time than they had expected and FEG asks us for more time regarding the payments of our fighters and the final fight card for the Amsterdam ArenA.
I find it admirable how Rutz does business and it is understandable that their patience has run out. Quite honestly, this is a case where East meets West and the West can't wait for the East to do business their way. Rutz is very realistic that if K-1 sorts out their financial problems and is open to working with It's Showtime on the joint card, that sometime in September or October would be for the best, while K-1 officials have told him to keep an open mind to the May deadline. It's Showtime manages many of its fighters and understands matchmaking must take place months in advance to ensure that the fighters are prepared for their fights as well as compensated.
There are six events booked so far, with It's Showtime looking to assemble at least ten cards this year, which is an astonishing amount of high-level kickboxing and leaves a smile on our faces. [source]Add a comment
Sergei Kharitonov is one of the "dark horses" in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, as he takes on Andrei Arlovski in the first round, in a fight which very well could have happened in the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16 last year if Andrei Arlovski's nose didn't explode in training. Bas Boon's company, Fight Game, released some training footage of Sergei Kharitonov preparing for his Strikeforce fight on February 12th. Sergei looks great, and for all of those out there who have hated on Bas Boon in the past, understand just how involved Boon is in his fighters' training. Watch at the 3:09 mark where Boon himself steps into the ring and spars with an exhausted Kharitonov.
Bas Boon is a bad ass, he is the real deal and what I'd love to see in more fight managers. He understands because he is a fighter himself. Andrei Arlovski facing off with Sergei Kharitonov is one of the fights I'm looking forward to the most, I don't know about you. Onward, Strikeforce Heavyweight GP. [hat tip]
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After weeks of awesome and mediocre fan trailers for the upcoming Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, Strikeforce and Showtime finally released an official trailer for the February 12th showdown between Fedor Emelianenko and Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva. The official trailer is short and to the point, while most of the fan-made ones tend to ramble on a bit. What is cool to think about is while Strikeforce tends to get lost in the shuffle unless the media is downright panning them, there is a ton of fan support for this upcoming tournament and shows that there really is a lot of buzz going around about this tournament. By all means, once all of the weird Coker and SF mishaps are said and done, it is an assembly of 8 of the best Heavyweights outside of UFC and should be great.
We get to watch Fedor Emelianeko, Antonio Silva, Andrei Arlovski, a former UFC Champion, and K-1 fighter Sergei Kharitonov in one show. [source]
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Chira Wichaisuthikul is releasing a documentary about Thai boxers at Lumpini. The documentary, set to be released this March 2011, follows a number of school-aged fighters.
I liked hearing eight to ten year old people talk about their experiences in the ring and their perceptions of fighting. For instance, the subtitled description of Muay Thai we hear at 1:36 strikes at very essential parts of the sport.
It's also cool to see kids causing a ruckus.
When 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]Add a comment
Ask any Jean Claude Van Damme fan about the toughest event in martial arts and they can name it - The 100 man Kumite. Made famous by Van Damme in Bloodsport, this legendary and near mythical event is, contrary to what you may believe, real. One challenger faces 100 opponents in succession, each bout lasting 90 seconds. Over the years, there have been spotty stories about Kumites, but it's often been hard to sort the legend from the truth. Until now.
In 2009, K-1 commentator Michael "The Voice" Schiavello had the honor of witnessing a Kumite. The challenger was Armenian Artur Hovhannisyan. The 100 opponents included K-1 legends Glaube Feitosa and Francisco Filho. Schiavello has now written an article on the event that is absolutely required reading. A small sample:
IN A GYM ON THE FOURTH FLOOR OF ICHIGEKI PLAZA IN TOKYO, Artur Hovhannisyan stands by a full-length window and looks down upon the streets of Ebisu though his thoughts are miles away. His white gi is pristine and a black belt adorns his waist with three gold bars on the tip (one for each dan ranking). With his shaved head and clean appearance, the 33-year-old Armenian could pass as a banker or an accountant. Indeed it’s not until you see his calloused knuckles and stare into the black abyss of his eyes that you realize who you’re really standing face-to-face with.
“It’s time,” says a voice from across the room.
“Osu!” grunts Hovhannisyan. He slams his ﬁst into his palm, lets out a loud breath and is led out of the gym by two officials with all the solemnity of wardens leading a death-row inmate to the chair. Hovhannisyan enters the tiny Honbu (headquarters) dojo and the wooden door slides shut behind him. The eerie thud of a Taiko drum renders the room silent. As he gazes around the dojo his eyes widen; only now does he truly comprehend the gravity of what lies ahead. On the ﬂoor sit one hundred black and brown belts, legs crossed, perfectly postured. They’re bare knuckled and hungry, like a pack of jackals ready to rip Hovhannisyan apart at the limbs.
The entire article is available on the HDNet blog - click here.
Seriously folks, I can not stress this enough - you MUST read this. Drop whatever you're doing, click the link, read it.
Highlights of Hovhannisyan's Kumite, including footage of him facing Feitosa and Filho below.
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Fighting 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.Add a comment