Having spent the last two years dogged by rumours of financial troubles, accusations of not paying fighters and reports of impending failure, the K-1 brand had hoped for a fresh start when it was bought out by EMCOM and the Korean investor Mr Kim at the start of 2012.
A partnership with the Dutch promotion Its Showtime was developed and in May, the â€˜newâ€™ K-1 made its debut appearance with a show in Madrid. Entitled â€˜K-1 Risingâ€™, the card featured Badr Hari and Mirko CroCop among others, and was presented as K-1â€™s return to major league event promoting.
But the actual logistics were handled by Its Showtime, who did basically all of the work and just used the K-1 branding and logos. This apparently turned out to be a disaster for Its Showtime, as its owner Simon Rutz relates in the statement below.
Rutz alleges that he was not paid the promised monies by the new owners of K-1 and was consequentially left with crippling bills. The only two fighters paid in full for Madrid were apparently Hari and CroCop, who demanded their money in advance.
Last week, Rutz sold Its Showtime to the company which at the start of the year was his bitter rival: GLORY. The deal was announced on Saturday night at what was probably the last-ever Its Showtime-branded event and it means that all the top talent in kickboxing is now under the GLORY banner. Its a huge development for the sport.
Here Rutz explains how it came around:
â€œI made an announcement during the ITâ€™S SHOWTIME event in Brussels that we have sold the company ITâ€™S SHOWTIME to Glory Sports International. Glory Sports International is the holding company of Glory.
â€œThere were different reasons for us for this sale. First of all, for a long time we had been regretting the fact that not all good kickboxers were in one league, and for that reason, the kickboxing fans didnâ€™t get to see a lot of potential great fights.
â€œAt ITâ€™S SHOWTIME, we were also deeply impressed by the positive plans of Glory Sports International to give our sport a massive impulse. Their very open and positive attitude towards us have brought our companies closer to each other in the past months.
â€œThe financial injection which Glory Sports International wants to give to our sport is historical, and no obstacles are left which could prevent Glory from being the absolute number 1 in the kickboxing industry. In fact, Glory could even set or raise the bar on various other areas.
â€œIn February of 2012, we have made agreements with Mr. Mike Kim of K-1 to help him bringing the K-1 back to the top of the game, and we would get paid for this help. We also helped the K-1 to sign fighters and we have introduced them to a local promoter in Madrid in order to set up the K-1 event last May.
â€œOf all the daring plans Mr. Kim told us, nothing became reality. The fighters of the event last May still havenâ€™t received their money. Once again, the fighters wonâ€™t get paid (only Badr Hari and Mirko Filipovic demanded to be paid in advance).
â€œThe local promoter in Madrid disbursed money for the K-1 and even this company wonâ€™t get that money back after hundreds of emails. Therefore, the local promoter will take these matters to court. Also, but less important, K-1 again didnâ€™t live up to the financial agreements they have made with our company, so they breached the contract.
â€œMr. Kim doesnâ€™t even pay his own Japanese employees and therefore they are leaving the K-1 now. Even though K-1 announced a 1 million dollar jackpot for the winner of the K-1 World Grand Prix Final, Mr. Kim wonâ€™t give a bank guarantee for this jackpot. We think he simply isnâ€™t able to come up with a bank guarantee because there isnâ€™t enough money available.
â€œI firmly believe that Mr. Kim took a big risk concerning the take-over of the K-1 brand. He assumed that he would find a co-investor or that he could sell the brand/logo with a big profit. There just isnâ€™t any longterm vision with K-1.
â€œAfter all these issues, we lost our faith in the new K-1, an organization that hasnâ€™t brought us what they promised us. Even the events in the U.S. are far from sure to happen.
â€œAll these facts combined have made us at ITâ€™S SHOWTIME decide to take the only and right step by supporting Glory for 100%. The take-over means that from now on, all personnel of ITâ€™S SHOWTIME will use its knowledge to help bringing Glory to where we think it will go.
â€œTogether with Bert van der Ryd, I will be busy with the production of the Glory events. For other activities within Glory, the best specialists in the world are, or will be, signed.
â€œCurrently, itâ€™s not 100% sure yet whether there will be only Glory events in the future, or also events under the ITâ€™S SHOWTIME label. This will be decided soon. However, the event which is scheduled for July 21 on Tenerife, Spain, will take place.
â€œOne thing is for sure: because of this take-over, the fighters and the fans will be the big winners. The fighters will get more opportunities to fight at more events, and the fans will get to see all good fighters against each other.
â€œI am in the lucky position that I only have to do whatâ€™s closest to my heart: producing events. This, together with the professional Glory staff, gives me the belief that itâ€™s now Glory time. For more information www.gloryworldseries.com
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