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Photo of the Day: JLB Training at Babalu's Iron Gym

Because you cannot get enough Jerome Le Banner in your day-to-day life, we bring you yet more JLB content. This time, a photo from just over a week ago of JLB training in Cerritos, CA at Renato "Babalu" Sobral's Iron Gym (also known as BIG). It is an interesting choice for JLB, who is not exactly known for his ground game, to choose to train with a Gracie Barra black belt in Babalu to prepare for his upcoming fight. It is always good to see a Kickboxer work on his ground game for a MMA fight, though.

JLB

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Daniel Ghita Gives Us Insight Into K-1's Future and a Fragmented Kickboxing World

The past few days there has been a rush of K-1 news, as the mysterious Mr. Kim has revealed himself as the head of a Chinese-based company called EMCOM, and it appears that he has finally gone through and purchased something and that whatever it is will be called K-1. The details were still foggy at best, as LiverKick had heard from a number of sources that there have been "K-1 Global Holdings Limited" fighter contracts circulating amongst fighters, but it was no clear exactly who was at the helm in regards to those contracts.

We did an interview with It's Showtime Heavyweight Champion Daniel Ghita today, and that helped to really clarify the situation and give an idea of how the Heavyweight Kickboxing landscape is going to look, and I predict that it will be messy. 

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"Mr. Kim" Acquires K-1?

If you've been keeping up with ours news on K-1 for the past few days, you'd know that we posted about Barbizon selling K-1 to EMCOM. K-1 is now a subsidiary of EMCOM Entertainment Inc.

Guess who the president of EMCOM is. It's Hakmin Kim, AKA "Mr. Kim," whose name has been floating around in the whole struggle to acquire K-1. Kim's name has been involved with FEG and Simon Rutz but as of right now, it's unclear if those two are involved and it would seem that they are most likely not, especially Simon Rutz. It seemed to be that FEG/Mr. Kim were competing with TSA/Golden Glory to acquire K-1. Kim has come out on top but the status of him being in a deal with FEG is unclear.

The press release put out by EMCOM yesterday showed that the company seemed to be confident that it could organize events and expand the business. It doesn't look like it will be that easy though. Kim's reputation will probably go down the toilet even more after EMCOM lost 63% of its value last year if he makes any type of deal with Kazuyuki Ishii or FEG, who have both had ugly portrayals due to fraud and yakuza-related business. EMCOM is apparently looking to use K-1 to revive their stock but they'll have a lot in the way making it difficult to do so.

It should be interesting to see how this plays out. K-1 seems to be in Japanese-based hands which might not be good for the survival and growth of the company. Golden Glory/TSA wanted to use K-1 this year but they were competing with Kim to acquire K-1 so as of now, everything is unclear. Contracts with "K-1 Global Holdings Limited" were sent out a few weeks ago to fighters but they seemed to be from GG/TSA as opposed to Kim. Kim's acquisition of K-1 is a shake-up of the whole situation, so as for what's next, we can only wait and see.

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Did The Appearance of a Porn Star Ruin FIKA?

It has been months now and we've heard next to nothing about FIKA while hearing a lot about the K-1 brand, which is rather curious. The concept behind FIKA was a sound one, and it appeared like there was some serious money and commitment involved in it, but yet, it could be dead in the water. I've all-but-given up caring about what happens with the K-1 brand at this point, as there are struggles between two factions that are not "FIKA" to acquire the rights to the K-1 brand, one of which is led by a Korean investor and FEG, the other by Bas Boon and TSA.

The funny part is, TSA and Bas Boon have already paid fighters that they have signed, at least the ones who were owed substantial sums by FEG/K-1 in the past. Not much instill confidence into a situation than paying fighters money that another company owes them to show your level of commitment, and honestly, this already endears them if you were picking sides in this whole ordeal. The other side of the fence is led by Mr. Kim and Tanikawa, and it feels difficult at this point to support a team that let millions of dollars go unpaid to fighters and let one of the strongest combat sports brands in the world fall into such terrible disrepair. Fans and fighters have been left on the line, first with "PUJI money," then with the whole "who will be our investor" game they played and finally with the Simon Rutz co-promoted K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16 that fell apart at last minute with FEG putting up a terrible, lame-duck excuse that there were vias issues with the event as opposed to being honest. 

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