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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 below:

Because there is no information regarding the new start of K-1 coming from Japan, I will clarify the situation for everyone.

FEG, the parent company of the former K-1 brand, is technically bankrupt. The name K-1 lays now at the Japanese company Barbizon. There are 2 serious parties now, which try to pull the K-1 brand name towards themselves and place this in a new company.

The first one to find an investor is FEG’s president, Mr. Tanikawa. He has found a Korean investor who has big plans with the K-1 label. This investor claims to have a verbal agreement with Mr. Ishii and Barbizon regarding the takeover of the K-1 label. Details were already discussed and agreed upon, but the only missing thing is the necessary signature of Mr. Ishii.

The second one to find a potential investor is Bas Boon. He has found an American company which also has big opportunities to bring the K-1 brand to high levels. However, also this company needs the signature of Mr. Ishii.

In the meanwhile, even a third potential investor has reported itself to take over the K-1 label, but this investor has presented itself only a couple of days ago.

All three companies have big plans to bring the K-1 label back to the place where it belongs and therefore make sure that the brand of K-1 has a healthy future.

All investors understand that a good cooperation with IT’S SHOWTIME is essential to prevent future conflicts of interest and to make sure that in the future all world elite fighters will participate to the tournaments; that means the fighters of both IT’S SHOWTIME as the ones of Golden Glory. We from IT’S SHOWTIME support the plans to make the K-1 label a strong brand again, because this is in the best interest of the sport, the fighters and the millions of fans around the world.

• This year there will be no K-1 Final Elimination and K-1 World Grand Prix Final for the following reasons:

• It’s currently unknown which investor gets Mr. Ishii’s signature

• There’s not enough time left to organize such a big event

• The visas for the fighters to travel to China haven’t been arranged and these are essential to be able to fight there

• The decision to not rush into crazy things is a wise one, because severe mistakes that could cause more unnecessary damage to the K-1 label are being prevented.

From next year there will be a new and healthy company that will work on the worldwide brand of K-1.

For the fighters who were already preparing to fight on October 29 in China this will be a hard pill to swallow, but on the other hand, these developments offer enough perspective to positively look ahead to the future.

I hope I have answered the many questions and to have clarified these matters.

Best regards,

Simon Rutz


Looking at the situation from an objective opinion, things don’t look good for K-1, especially when many of its stars like Overeem, Badr Hari and Gokhan Saki have recently decided to leave the kickboxing world in favor of MMA and boxing. Without big name stars, kickboxing may suffer the same shift in popularity of fans over to MMA that boxing has experienced in recent years, which is too bad for those of us who enjoy the sport and having some variety.

Cagepotato Comments

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ttkkmm- October 18, 2011 at 8:49 am
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XENOPHON- October 17, 2011 at 9:59 pm
@Mike Russell
OK, even I am not immune from the nights dreaded "D-" GRIN
XENOPHON- October 17, 2011 at 9:56 pm
Well, the truth is you could be as right as me, there is only one piece of truth about the Civil War most don't know.
There is only one way that war could have ever been won...the key to understanding the Civil War has everything to do with military geography. The South was destined to lose from the get go - hence slavery was eventually abolished.
One of the men in history to demonstrate such prowess and command was a name you heard of, his name was Xenophon. Like him, I too am a master of war. Its partly why I am drawn to MMA, as the cage levels the field, and so it ultimately becomes a mano-on-mano match of fitness, natural talent, muscle memory, and intelligence.
macreadysshack- October 17, 2011 at 6:43 pm
Badr better fucking work on his TD defense.
smellypiratehooker- October 17, 2011 at 2:36 pm
@ xeno
I could be wrong but didn't the American civil war have something to do with " The Blacks" spreading here talents in to other areas other then the cotton fields for that higher premium
Mike Russell- October 17, 2011 at 2:29 pm
Xenophon...IT'S SHOWTIME, the kickboxing promotion from the Netherlands, NOT Showtime the TV network...
XENOPHON- October 17, 2011 at 2:25 pm
Succinct assessment. It's a great platform for fighting, but lacks the modern catch all techniques expected in MMA. Really is a big leap from the pugilist and his boxing, but lacks much for the future. You ever heard the saying, its not wise to throw good money after bad. I think that is the case with K1...
XENOPHON- October 17, 2011 at 1:23 pm
Lets keep in mind, that the way to bring the cost down, is to have a head-to-head competition directed at Zuffa's monopoly. Competition drives prices (of PPV's) down...and offers alternatives for the consumer.
We are consumers, and to date getting robbed in the same way the petroleum companies rip us off daily. Defacto, the fighters would see an increase in their value with their respective employers.
At a slightly different level, its much like the history of the blacks in America who for a long could only pick crops and cotton. Once the industrial revolution took place, their skills and talents with the MMA-likeminded work ethic became spread into many equivalent places that paid a higher premium.
intercept440- October 17, 2011 at 1:18 pm
k-1 was the shit 20 yrs ago. now its literally that just shit.
XENOPHON- October 17, 2011 at 12:55 pm
SHOWTIME needs not worry about K-1, it doesn't carry the umph of MMA, and since the real competition comes from FOX, its time they look at snapping up Bellator, and any all discarded talent or names that can still sell fight from Strike Force and others.
If you have a better idea for SHOWTIME now's the time to speak up and be heard?
exect4500- October 17, 2011 at 12:42 pm
It's sad to see K-1 die before Strikeforce.
Viva Hate- October 17, 2011 at 12:33 pm
Sometimes these things happen in MMA.
cork boi- October 17, 2011 at 12:07 pm
Boo hoo, I for one will miss K-1. It was like a breath of fresh air when it arrived over a decade ago. R.I.P.