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Warman's Kickfighting Show #56: MPL, Fight Code and More

Warman Kickfighting Show

I've once again cemented my status as a regular on Steven "Warman" Wright's podcast, Warman's Kickfighting Show. In episode 56 we go ahead and preview this weekend's Fight Code event, which is shaping up to be a can't miss show. We also discuss some of the recent Muay Thai stadium shows and what the hell is going on with K-1. On top of that we take a rather frank look at the Muay Thai Premier Leagues latest event and how they are marketing the events and how there is some clarity needed on their rules after some decisions have upset fans across the world.

You can access the show from this blog, or just download it here directly (Note: Embedded Player might not always work. If not, go to the blog to download it).

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Simon Rutz Sets Final Deadline for K-1; It's Showtime Fighters Not Offered "Bad Deal"

K-1 Final 16As we had reported previously, there has been a rumor that FEG has offered certain fighters an offer that would let FEG off of the hook for 50% of the money that they owe certain fighters. What many who read it neglected to notice was the last paragraph, which states that it was unclear who this offer was extended to, if anyone. LiverKick.com has received numerous reports that K-1 has been working to broker deals with fighters and managers this past week to solidify the K-1 Final 16 and that there were some fighters being offered a "50% deal."

It appears that It's Showtime's fighters were not offered this deal, at least that is what Simon Rutz says as of this morning. When a fan asked Mr. Rutz if It's Showtime fighters would be willing to take a cut of 50% to fight for K-1 he claimed that was not the case for It's Showtime's fighters, and in a reply to another fan's post he said that K-1 was not "blackmailing" them. This does not entirely rule out that some fighters have been offered a "bad deal," but in the case of It's Showtime it appears this deal has not been given to them.

That does not mean that things between It's Showtime and FEG/K-1 are all sunshine and roses, though. It's Showtime's deadline for FEG to pay the money owed to them has been pushed back a few times now. On his Facebook page today, Simon Rutz replied to a fan's question about K-1 paying them and things seemed final; "If they [K-1] do not transfer the money today, then I think no more!" If Friday is the final deadline for K-1, there could be problems brewing for the event.

Multiple sources claim that none of the fighters are actually contracted yet for their fights due to these financial problems. There is talk of K-1 having issues securing sponsors for the event, which is where a lot of their money comes from to help fund events and pay fighters. If you check the K-1 site for the Nanjing Final 16 you'll see that there are no sponsors listed at the bottom, either. Compare to the K-1 MAX event, which was sponsored by Mages.

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Reports of Heavyweight Kickboxing’s Demise Have Been Exaggerated, Greatly

Badr HariThe news about Badr Hari, Gokhan Saki and Tyrone Spong’s imminent departures from the sport of Kickboxing behind to pursue other interests in the combat sports world has had the world talking about Heavyweight Kickboxing, but most of the discussion has not been complimentary, instead it has been gloom and doom. It is understandable to be upset over three big stars departing the world of Kickboxing; Saki and Hari for Boxing and Spong for MMA, because over the past few years they have been the golden standard of “young fighters” and shown a strong future for the sport. Yet the talk is that the well has gone dry, that there is no money in Kickboxing because of K-1’s financial distress and that elite talent will no longer look to Kickboxing as a viable career.

This is incredibly inaccurate and echoes a lot of the same sentiments that were heard about Boxing when MMA began to rise into prominence. Many were quick to declare Boxing as a dead sport or at least on a steady enough decline to where within a matter of years Mixed Martial Arts would completely over take it and no more young talent would turn to Boxing. Instead we’ve seen Boxing continue to march forward, new stars being developed and dominant fighters like Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather, the Klitschko brothers and more steal headlines and attract more and more fans. MMA enthusiasts will argue that there are so few big Boxing PPVs that of course the big fights drawing in the million buys or more range makes sense, that UFC’s business model is to get consistent buys for lesser fights. Boxing fans would note that no UFC fighter outside of Brock Lesnar has the ability to draw mainstream interest or PPV buys like a Floyd Mayweather or a Manny Pacquiao can.

The truth is somewhere in the middle, where both sports are entirely different sports and can easily co-exist with there still being a wealth of talent in each sport. For Kickboxing the same is true. There is no doubt that as MMA grows it will attract some talented fighters who could have otherwise made a successful career in Kickboxing, Boxing or Muay Thai, but that does not mean that any sport will be run out of business or talent because of it. Each sport is distinctly different and some fighters find their calling and stick with it. Not every fighter has a passion for grappling like they do for stand up fighting, why would they jump to a sport like MMA where in the United States traditional wrestling dominates a lot of where the fights take place and how they are paced?

In Europe and Asia there is still strong support for Kickboxing and Muay Thai, with it built into the culture much like in the Midwestern United States strong wrestling programs are built into the culture and in urban areas of the United States youth Boxing programs are there. Children grow up learning how to Kickbox in the Netherlands, UK, Australia and many other countries, it is hard to imagine a sport like Kickboxing simply dying off because of a predominantly American sport like MMA is finally starting to create “millionaires” as Dana White has gone on record stating.

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K-1 Final 16 Update: K-1 Brokering Deal With Fighters for Half of Money Owed

K-1 WGP Final 16The K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16 is just over two weeks away now and there has been no card announced and from reports inside of fight camps from managers and fighters, there are no finalized contracts for the fights. It's Showtime's Simon Rutz made a deadline for K-1 to pay up, which was last Friday, when this came and went the deadline was apparently extended to Wednesday of this week. We've been in contact with Simon Rutz and other employees of It's Showtime who could confirm that were some financial problems and disagreements and were still waiting for their payments before they could move forward. There has been no word over the past two days from the It's Showtime camp, though. LiverKick.com reached out to some K-1 officials who had no further details for us other than thanking us for our patience and telling us just to wait a little bit longer and there should be an update.

Now there are reports coming out of the Netherlands that K-1 has been offering a "deal" that reads a lot like a settlement to fighters who would like to participate in the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16. The deal is for fighters to sign a contract by tomorrow, and that the contract waives a certain degree of K-1 and FEG's liability to fighters for past financial obligations. Signing this contract being offered by FEG assures the fighters a spot in the Final 16, but waives the fighter's right to half of the money that FEG owes the fighters, which in some cases will be hundreds of thousands of dollars. Only if those contracts are signed with FEG pay fighters any of the money that they owe, which begs the question of what happens to fighters like Ray Sefo and Alistair Overeem who are not looking to participate in the World Grand Prix this year but are owed a lot of money?

These reports line up with information that sources have told to LiverKick.com over the past few days, and it is not yet clear if this offer was extended to all fighters who were owed money, to just certain fighters or just to certain fighters that are part of management teams or fight camps that work with K-1. We'll provide more updates when they are available, but we could finally be getting some answers within the next few days.

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