Yes, the It’s Showtime takeover by newly established #1 powerhouse GLORY may still run events under its banner, but it’s not the same. Yes, more top fighters will now undoubtedly fight under one banner, but let’s talk turkey; there’s something special about seeing “K-1″ in writing with an event on the way.
And as K-1 just began “rising”, events in Europe suggest that it may start falling, or at the very least, cease shooting in an upwards direction.
Simon Rutz, the man behind It’s Showtime who was a major player in the behind-the-scenes cooperation that led to the resurrected brand K-1 Rising hosting its first event in Europe, not to mention the talent that was made available for it, spoke thusly on not only Showtime’s sale to Glory, but also the faults and flaws within the new K-1 that he says made further cooperation an impossibility and will lead to their demise.
Here is his statement;
“Saturday, June 30, 2012, I made an announcement during the IT’S SHOWTIME event in Brussels that we have sold the company IT’S SHOWTIME to Glory Sports International. Glory Sports International is the holding company of Glory.
There were different reasons for us for this sale. First of all, for a long time we had been regretting the fact that not all good kickboxers were in 1 league, and for that reason, the kickboxing fans didn’t get to see a lot of potential great fights. At IT’S SHOWTIME, we were also deeply impressed by the positive plans of Glory Sports International to give our sport a massive impulse. Their very open and positive attitude towards us have brought our companies closer to each other in the past months.
The financial injection which Glory Sports International wants to give to our sport is historical, and no obstacles are left which could prevent Glory from being the absolute number 1 in the kickboxing industry. In fact, Glory could even set or raise the bar on various other areas.
In February of 2012, we have made agreements with Mr. Mike Kim of K-1 to help him bringing the K-1 back to the top of the game, and we would get paid for this help. We also helped the K-1 to sign fighters and we have introduced them to a local promoter in Madrid in order to set up the K-1 event last May.
Of all the daring plans Mr. Kim told us, nothing became reality. The fighters of the event last May still haven’t received their money. Once again, the fighters won’t get paid (only Badr Hari and Mirko Filipovic demanded to be paid in advance). The local promoter in Madrid disbursed money for the K-1 and even this company won’t get that money back after hundreds of emails. Therefore, the local promoter will take these matters to court.
Also, but less important, K-1 again didn’t live up to the financial agreements they have made with our company, so they breached the contract.
Mr. Kim doesn’t even pay his own Japanese employees and therefore they are leaving the K-1 now. Even though K-1 announced a 1 million dollar jackpot for the winner of the K-1 World Grand Prix Final, Mr. Kim won’t give a bank guarantee for this jackpot. We think he simply isn’t able to come up with a bank guarantee because there isn’t enough money available. I firmly believe that Mr. Kim took a big risk concerning the take-over of the K-1 brand. He assumed that he would find a co-investor or that he could sell the brand/logo with a big profit. There just isn’t any longterm vision with K-1. After all these issues, we lost our faith in the new K-1, an organization that hasn’t brought us what they promised us. Even the events in the U.S. are far from sure to happen.
All these facts combined have made us at IT’S SHOWTIME decide to take the only and right step by supporting Glory for 100%. The take-over means that from now on, all personnel of IT’S SHOWTIME will use its knowledge to help bringing Glory to where we think it will go.
Together with Bert van der Ryd, I will be busy with the production of the Glory events. For other activities within Glory, the best specialists in the world are, or will be, signed.
Currently, it’s not 100% sure yet whether there will be only Glory events in the future, or also events under the IT’S SHOWTIME label. This will be decided soon. However, the event which is scheduled for July 21 on Tenerife, Spain, will take place.
One thing is for sure: because of this take-over, the fighters and the fans will be the big winners. The fighters will get more opportunities to fight at more events, and the fans will get to see all good fighters against each other.
I am in the lucky position that I only have to do what’s closest to my heart: producing events. This, together with the professional Glory staff, gives me the belief that it’s now Glory time.
For more information about Glory, visit GLORY World Series.
As far as we can tell, K-1 have no plans to shut up shop. K-1 Global still exists as an entity, their events planned for America will still likely go ahead, and as reported yesterday on FightSportAsia, in signing the likes of ISKA and WMC (MAD) World Muay Thai champion Andy Howson of Leeds, England, they are clearly looking at the Muay Thai world for new fresh talent, as they did with Buakaw all those years ago. But with this deal, it appears that fighters signed under It’s Showtime and Glory will not be made available to the Japanese based promotion.
For the first time, we may see K-1 exist as a lesser promotion, with the majority of the elite kickboxers (i.e. K-1 rules!) competing in Europe, under the Glory banner.
From my perspective, this will be a little bit sad. Yes, in “kickboxing” (K-1 rules!) a monopoly can be good, as top talent all under one roof leads to more fights that the fans want being procured and set up. But for years, K-1 was more than that monopoly, it was the sport itself. And they did it in a way that frankly, neither It’s Showtime nor Glory have yet managed to even get near.
Much like the death of PRIDE Fighting Championships in MMA, does this herald the death of (K-1 rules) kickboxing as we know it? Sure, there will still be good fights and entertaining cards, but for that HUGE extravaganza feel, with hours upon hours of elite fights mixed in with freakshow brawls and unbelievable pageantry and that scintillating Japanese big show feel, is that now solely a domain of the past? Are those days well and truly gone?
K-1 might exist in name, but if we don’t have those huge Japanese shows with marquee names fighting under the brightest of all bright lights, then another little piece of me as a fight fan will die inside.