(Oh yes. Oh God, yes. / Video via slafy)
In their continuing efforts to stick it to the UFC, Spike TV has inked a deal with world-reknowned kickboxing organization K-1 to broadcast four live events on Spike.com through the end of this year, and a series of live events on the cable channel in 2013. As K-1 CEO Doug Kaplan explained in a press release distributed yesterday afternoon, “Spike is the perfect television home and stage to introduce our K-1 warriors and the fast-paced, aggressive style of K-1 fighting to fight fans across America.” Spike’s K-1 broadcasts next year will complement their coverage of Bellator Fighting Championships, though air-dates and times for the 2013 shows have yet to be announced.
Rumors of K-1′s demise have plagued the promotion since last year, but an American showcase on a channel that reaches nearly 100 million viewers could resuscitate the brand. Could K-1 be a “gold mine” for Spike, as Joe Rogan once suggested? After the jump, the full text of the press release, including more details on this year’s Spike.com/K-1 broadcasts.
SPIKE TV AND K-1, THE WORLD’S PREMIER KICKBOXING PROMOTION, AGREE TO MULTI-PLATFORM PARTNERSHIP FOR 2012 AND 2013
New York, NY, August 20, 2012 – Spike TV and K-1, the world’s premier kickboxing organization, have agreed to a strategic partnership that will begin this fall with live fights streamed on Spike.com beginning Saturday, September 8 at the U.S. World Grand Prix Championships in Los Angeles. There will be a total of four events that will be streamed live in 2012. In 2013, the K-1 events will move from Spike.com to Spike TV to coincide with the network’s extensive coverage of Bellator Fighting Championships.
“We are thrilled to be in business with the world’s preeminent kickboxing organization,” said Jon Slusser, Senior Vice President, Sports and Multiplatform Events, Spike TV. “Spike has the most passionate and knowledgeable fans of combat sports and we are confident that they will enjoy the high-action of K-1, which serves as the perfect complement to our Bellator coverage next year.”
“K-1 is excited to join forces with Spike TV, a powerful and highly experienced cable network known nationally for its combat sports programming, presenting our live K-1 events,” said Doug Kaplan, CEO, K-1. “Spike is the perfect television home and stage to introduce our K-1 warriors and the fast-paced, aggressive style of K-1 fighting to fight fans across America.”
Spike.com’s 2012 coverage will include unprecedented access to K-1 events, from live streaming of the weigh-ins the day before the bouts, to locker room interviews, to live coverage of every fight on the card, including all the prelims.
The four K-1 events in 2012 include:
September 8 – Los Angeles – U.S. Grand Prix Championship
October 14 – Tokyo, Japan – World Grand Prix Final
December 8 – Athens, Greece – MAX Final
December 26 – New York – World Grand Prix Final
The addition of K-1 to Spike TV’s lineup next year further establishes the network as the premier television destination for combat sports. Spike TV will debut Bellator Fighting Championships in January 2013 with a weekly live fight card featuring some of the best rising stars in the mixed martial arts world.
K-1 is the largest kickboxing promotion in history. Since 1993, K-1 has presented professional live martial arts events in 38 countries, featuring the best and most accomplished athletes in the sport.
World Grand Prix Champions of K-1 include Alistair Overeem, Mark Hunt, Ernesto Hoost, Peter Aerts, Remy Bonjasky and Semmy Schilt. K-1 returned to the world stage on May 26, 2012 in Madrid, Spain, drawing a packed stadium and hundreds of thousands of views on the K-1 Live Stream.