K-1's US Grand Prix in Los Angeles went down on last Saturday, September 8 in Los Angeles at the LA Sports Arena. One guest who was present was Eduard Irimia, the owner and promoter of SuperKombat. SuperKombat recently entered a partnership with K-1 and Irimia was on hand to see for himself what the new K-1 had to offer.
Here at LiverKick, we were lucky enough to get an exclusive report from Eduard Irimia on his evaluation of the event and the new K-1 as an organization. Here's what he had to say:
Eduard Irimia: "We decided to come a few days early to Los Angeles to see the logistics that K-1 has. I was not particularly interested in fights, but I was curious about the the technique that K-1 Global has. Knowing how I can do in Europe with SuperKombat, it was important for me to know whether Asia and America are good in regards to logistics for the future, especially for TV and for the public interest of this event.
Basically, the K-1 Global event in Los Angeles was an exam. Even if it seems impossible to get a big attendance with a fight card without big names, it was shown that with proper promotion and marketing, K-1 managed to get 7000 people in the arena.
Frankly, I was surprised to see how many good things they managed to do at K-1 Global fight card with a fight card like this. They took newcomers selected at the tryouts by the beach, without having any fights ever before in kickboxing. For Jarrel Miller I can say that I see a great future, but I noticed Blake, Vigney, and James Wilson, who is like Catalin Morosanu, and they can progress more in the coming years.
K-1 Los Angeles was the perfect time to re-introduce America to this sport, and I can say it was a success. A lot of people expected this to be like a World Grand Prix show from Japan, but the idea was for a pre-selection event in an attempt to discover new heroes and also to excite the interest of Americans. The result was a good one. In Los Angeles, television and newspapers have commented more on this event, even though, again, it was without big names.
As for the impact, I think it was the best K-1 event ever organized in the United States, but not in terms of sports, but in terms of organization. The only negative point that I could mention is the fact that they announced the four winners of the heavyweight fights will go to Tokyo for the Final 16, but have done a match of two veterans face to face instead of a veteran against a rival of the newer wave.
Although there will be some who will criticize the event, I think it was made a good step to the recovery of K-1 in the U.S. market, especially the entertainment aspect as a spectacular athlete like Miller can perform very well. In addition, this was an event preparation for the grand final which will take place on December 26 in New York.
As a novelty, the discussions that we had with Mike Kim, owner of K-1 Global, include an announcement soon with a large television network in China. This after they signed a partnership with Spike, so progress is evident. We will promote the finals in New York and SuperKombat events on 20 October, 10 November and 8 December because we believe in the recovery of K-1.
In the end, beyond the ideas listed at K-1 in Los Angeles, I have to mention that between SuperKombat and K-1 there is a cooperation agreement, and it is not financial. Thus, SuperKombat GP champions will arrive at the K-1 Final 16 and K-1 heroes will fight in SuperKombat to stay in shape before the big event at the end of the year. It’s a reciprocity for this sport to return to its glory years."