I feel like there is so much going on in the Kickboxing world right now that it is difficult to really pinpoint exactly where to start. I feel like watching the above video by FightstarTV is a good start if any, as Bas Boon discusses some of the implications of the purchase of It's Showtime. Firstly, there is talk about the future of Simon Rutz within the organization and how he will continue to play a big role, which to many will be a relief. Then, there is talk about possibly keeping the It's Showtime name alive much like the Strikeforce name is still alive even though the UFC owns it.
To shift gears, I've had a lot of people asking my "why" over the past 24 hours and seen a lot of questions online on forums and Twitter. After speaking with a few people close to the situation as well as a few people who were working at the show yesterday, it appears that Simon Rutz and It's Showtime's partnership with K-1 blew up in their faces and put them in a financial predicament. Apparently, Rutz and It's Showtime had paid for the K-1 Rising in Madrid show in its entirety and due to using the K-1 name, did not get their usual sponsors and co-promoters to help them cover costs. The expectations were that K-1 would pay for these costs, as promised. After a few days had passed and the money had not materialized, Rutz and Glory began talks which have persisted over the past month and finally culminated on Saturday when the deal was signed.
To put it bluntly, K-1 Global has their first true scandal on their hands and it took them less than six months of operations to get there. While there have been press releases over the past week or so from K-1 Global and statements from Doug Kaplan about finding great talent at the Muscle Beach Open Tryouts, the truth staring back at them in the mirror is in one fell swoop their partnership with It's Showtime, which provided them with 90% of their talent, is gone. Of the World MAX Final 16 they just held, a staggering ten of the fighters were under It's Showtime contracts, five of the Final 8. From the Super Fights it appears that only Mirko Cro Cop is left. We had originally believed Badr Hari to be under direct contract to them, and he was, but according to sources close to him and his management, the contract was breached when the money was not paid within the allotted time period, so they are considering the contract null and void. We've heard other fighters had K-1 contracts and are simply not sure yet how they will play out in the end, most are not confident in fighting for K-1 again and trying to get out of said contracts.
Obviously, this is a disaster for K-1. All it took was one weekend and a good chunk of the talent they were going to rely upon have seemingly fallen from their grasp and stories are being spread about K-1 Global not paying their bills on time, taking after their predecessors at FEG.
What we do know for certain is we are entering a new age in Kickboxing and the big brand that has meant everything might not have that same value as we all originally believed, in the coming months Glory can do a lot to prove that new brands can be easily forged in combat sports and that it is the talent and management that makes something special.
Dave Walsh has been covering MMA and Kickboxing since 2007 before changing his focus solely to Kickboxing in 2009, launching what was the only English-language site dedicated to giving Kickboxing similar coverage to what MMA receives. He was the co-founder of HeadKickLegend and now LiverKick. He resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he works as a writer of all trades.
His second novel, Terminus Cycle, launches on March 24th.