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Tag: bankruptcy

K-1/DREAM Parent Company FEG Files for Bankruptcy


(Behold: The most fabulous bounced-check in combat sports history.)

The writing was on the wall when they couldn’t pay their fighters anymore, but it looks like Japanese kickboxing and MMA promoter FEG might be one step closer to officially closing up shop. Sherdog is reporting that the combat sports promoter best known for K-1, DREAM, and the now-defunct Hero’s brand has declared bankruptcy after eight-and-a-half years of operation:

“Long-beleaguered combat sports giant Fighting and Entertainment Group (FEG) has officially declared bankruptcy, according to a report by private credit research firm Teikoku Databank. First published Wednesday by Yahoo.co.jp, the Databank report claims that FEG began the process of declaring bankruptcy on May 7 in Tokyo District Court. No figures indicating the extent of FEG’s debts were revealed,” Sherdog‘s Tony Loiseleur writes.

“Though K-1’s brand rights were transferred to Japanese real estate firm Barbizon, Inc. in January 2006, FEG continued to promote the event under their banner. After the purchase and closure of Pride Fighting Championships by Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta in 2007, FEG partnered with former Pride production staff in the form of Real Entertainment to produce the Dream series.”

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The Buzzards Are Circling K-1


(Rutz and K-1 head Tanikawa pretending things aren’t so bad)

Apparently K-1 is in the death throes.

After a year of speculation about if and when the revered kickboxing and MMA promotion would pack it in, it appears that the financially troubled organization may be living on borrowed time.

IT’S SHOWTIME president Simon Rutz shed some light on the current state of the former Japanese kickboxing powerhouse who has made more headlines the past couple years due to the fact that it hasn’t paid many of its champions like Alistair Overeem and Bibiano Fernandes.

According to Rutz, K-1 officials are scrambling to find potential investors an/or a buyer for the struggling franchise, which he says has run out of money. As such, they have decided to cancel the finals of the K-1 heavyweight grand prix after reportedly telling fighters a week ago that they would only be paid a portion of money owed to them and that their participation in the tournament would have to come at a reduced price.

Check out Rutz’s state of the K-1 union address after the jump.

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Is ‘UFC 2009 Undisputed’ in Jeopardy?

BJ Penn Georges St. Pierre MMA UFC video game Undisputed 2009
(Shoulda used your Vaseline cheat-code, Georges. Props: urdirt.com

Even if you don’t read the news regularly, you may be aware that our country is going through a bit of a recession. Maybe your former boss might have mentioned it when you were fired. Basically, it’s a bad time to own a company in America, or work at one. And though the UFC’s pay-per-view buys have looked seemingly recession-proof, they may be feeling the pinch in an unexpected way. WatchKalibRun reports that THQ, the publisher of UFC 2009 Undisputed, is in serious financial straits, which could affect the fate of the hotly-anticipated video game:

THQ has lost $334 million dollars this year and their stock prices has fallen from $20 a share to $2 a share. Now according to Michael Hickey of Janco Partners, the company has a fifty percent chance of going bankrupt. Currently THQ is trying to save over $220 million next year and are preparing to slash over 600 employees. However, the prognosis remains dark for THQ…
 
The worst-case scenario is that [UFC 2009 Undisputed] will be shelved, incomplete and not sold to another publisher or developer. The best case scenario is that THQ survives and publishes the game. If the game is near completion and THQ is going under, then THQ may publish the game before closing shop…THQ could also sell the game to developer who is not in trouble, or if things are really bad for THQ they could sell the studio, Yuke’s Media Creations, that is creating the game. Since THQ’s recent big budget games have been unsuccesful it seems unlikely that will sell off a potential blockbuster, but considering these financial times, no bets are off.
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Pro Elite Clings to Life, Contracts


(Surely Kimbo’s brilliant legal council will find a way out of this mess.)

Remember when Pro Elite ceased operations and filed for bankruptcy? Well, turns out they didn’t. At least that’s their story now. As fighters still under contract with them have been filing notices to get free, Pro Elite has responded by informing those fighters that the company has not declared bankruptcy and that it intends to stage an event in 2009.

A notice sent out to several managers representing Pro Elite fighters states:

“Elite XC and ProElite are currently downsizing its staff in an effort to improve its business moving forward. As this process is implemented, Elite XC cancelled the event previously scheduled for Nov. 8 in attempt to re-schedule another event in early 2009.”

That’s funny, because if I was running an MMA company that was merely downsizing but which intended to continue promoting events, and suddenly there were widespread reports that my company was filing for bankruptcy, I think I might say something to contradict that right away. I might, for example, immediately issue a statement declaring my intention not to just roll over and die. I might even call the people who had circulated those reports a bunch of lying sons of bitches. What I would not do is say nothing at all until fighters started trying to get free of their contracts, and only then come up with an obviously bullshit reason for not releasing them.

As you might expect, no one is buying this explanation.

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Jared Shaw Will Not Be Returning Your Calls, Media

Jared Shaw and Kimbo Slice
(‘Hey, just because the company has gone under that doesn’t mean we can’t still hang out, right big guy?’ Photo courtesy of Esther Lin.)

If you’re wondering why we haven’t heard from Jared Shaw (aka: “little rapper kid”) since the collapse of Pro Elite, there’s a good reason. $kala has not been heard from because $kala does not want to be heard from. He has retreated from the media spotlight, as our friends at MMA Rated learned when they attempted to get him on the phone and instead got this outgoing voicemail message:

“This is the voicemail of Jared ‘Skala’ Shaw. Leave me a message and I will return it at my earliest opportunity. If this is a member of the media, I will not be returning your call. I’m sorry. Namaste.”

Seriously, Jared? Namaste? Does that mean you won’t return calls because you have a yoga class to get to?

Not that I blame $kala for not wanting to talk to the media right now, but it is something of a chickenshit move. Maybe it’s because he knows he doesn’t have any good answers to give. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t want to hear the inevitable questions about what role his cageside freakout might have played in the whole ordeal, and whether Pro Elite was truly forced to keep him on in order to get his father out. Who knows.

What we do know is that not returning calls isn’t going to keep people from talking about you, so wouldn’t you at least like a chance to give your perspective? Who would have thought that this is how Jared Shaw would go out. Freaking Namaste.

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Pro Elite/EliteXC Days Away From Folding; Nov. 8th Show Cancelled

$kala Shaw Kimbo Slice EliteXC MMA
(Well, it was fun while it lasted. Photo courtesy of Esther Lin.)

Multiple MMA news outlets are reporting that due to its insurmountable debt and failure to find a buyer or major funding, EliteXC will go out of business this week, and their Showtime event scheduled for next month has already been canceled. From Sherdog:

Joey Villasenor, who was slated to challenge Robbie Lawler for the EliteXC middleweight crown in Reno, was informed of the show’s cancellation Monday evening.

[Icon Sport founder] TJ Thompson, a Pro Elite executive, said he’d been informed Monday morning by the company that it was closing its doors for good this week and that bankruptcy paperwork had already been filed…

A notice posted Monday evening at graciefighter.com read, “We are confirming that EliteXC has folded. What this means for our fans and supporters is that there will not be a Nick Diaz vs. Eddie Alvarez fight on November 8th.”

In an interview with MMA Weekly, Thompson said that Showtime’s rumored deal to buy EliteXC was sunk by the controversy of their last event — and the controversy was more than warranted:

“I think (CBS) got cold feet watching. The way the Ken Shamrock pullout was handled, all the way from the beginning to the end with Seth Petruzelli. Watching Jared Shaw jumping up and down and screaming as a representative of the company, I think was disgusting and embarrassing…

I don’t have a smoking gun, (but) I’ve been around long enough, I’ve talked to enough people that were there, I won’t name names of executives in the company that I know — Seth was paid to stand up. I’m confident of that. If the commission wants to talk to me, I’ll tell them what I know.”

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IFL Still Looking For Buyers, But Doing World’s Worst Sales Job


(Make an offer, but ring announcer Tim Hughes comes as part of the set.)

Even though the IFL has filed for bankruptcy and their best fighters have all signed on with other organizations, they are apparently still looking for a buyer who wants their video library badly enough to pay for it. Jay Larkin told Sherdog that when the UFC used some of their footage to hype former IFL fighters who had signed on with Zuffa, it wasn’t because the UFC had paid for the video, it was because the IFL was just “helping out.” It’s the least they could do, after all the help the UFC did for them.

But check Jay Larkin’s sales pitch when it comes to the IFL:

“You don’t always know what you got till it’s gone. There’s a lot of lessons to be learned,” said Larkin, a longtime boxing programming executive with Showtime. “One of the things I tried to do was do it in a more professional manner. The bottom line is, I feel MMA is a one-organization industry. I think UFC has done a spectacular job of branding, and UFC has become synonymous with MMA. And there’s a couple of hangers-on now. Wall Street’s having a hard time right now. I’d like to see MMA flourish but I’m very skeptical.”

In other words, please buy this stuff, but if you’re anyone other than the UFC, you’ll just be wasting your money.

I once went to Sears to buy a power drill and the stoned college kid working there responded to every one of my questions about various drills by telling me all the bad things about them, finally concluding that the one they had on sale “just generally kind of sucks.” I did not buy a drill that day. As sales strategies go, pessimism and ennui rank somewhere near the bottom. Larkin would do well to keep that in mind.

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