This video is both fascinating and frustrating, as Albie Hecht, the founder of Spike TV sits down to talk about how the deal between Spike TV and the UFC first came to be. As we all know, the UFC's deal with Spike TV happened and it opened up the market to MMA and helped to save the UFC from an untimely demise. The UFC and MMA in general might have never "boomed" if it weren't for the support of Spike TV.
What's the worst part as a Kickboxing fan? Knowing that it could have been K-1 instead, but that Ishii and K-1 in general back then kind of blew it by being as shady as we all knew that they were. This video is utterly fascinating in that Spike went FIRST to Japan to speak with K-1 before the UFC and that Ishii believing that Hecht insulted his geisha led to K-1 being more than just a Japanese brand and possibly the biggest combat sports brand in the world went up in smoke just like that.
As we've known, K-1 rarely thought about the American market in a serious way, as multiple K-1 USA heads (Scott Coker and Mike Kogan) have spoke about how shows in the US were geared towards Japanese audiences and television and more for saying that they ran shows in the US than to build up the brand and sport here in America. Even when both tried to build up K-1 in the USA, K-1 seemed disinterested in any money coming from the US. Just bonkers. We all do remember K-1 blowing it in China a few years ago, too, right? FIKA? Thanks to our old mothership for the discovery.
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.