By Zach Arnold | September 21, 2007
By Zach Arnold
Famous Japanese blogger Gryphon pointed out a major negative TV story in South Korean media about K-1. Please read Gryphon’s post first.
After you read his post, you will notice that he had a site commenter named MD Han who said that he watched the show in question. He then sent Gryphon a summary of some of the claims made on the South Korean TV show.
Here is the show summary MD Han sent to Gryphon.
From: MD Han
Subject: Summary of TV documentary
I just finished watching the documentary.
The show is called “In-depth 60 Minutes”, and is basically the Korean equivalent of “60 Minutes”, the American show.
I just gave you some brief information about the show in case you wanted to send it to American bloggers like Zach Arnold so they can get an idea.
The documentary’s topic was “K-1 and their lies”
They discussed 4 problems with K-1 and FEG. I’ll try to make it as specific as possible.
1. Questions regarding Hong Man Choi’s health
When the media questioned Choi’s health after being denied fighting in the Dynamite USA show, Choi and his camp insisted that his health was not a problem and that he was tested normal in Korea and the US. They blamed the media of spreading false rumors about his situation, but when the reporters asked his doctors about his condition, all of them basically said that he needed medical attention and was NOT “normal.” Choi’s camp said that he recently got tested in the US, but it was found that he didn’t go to the US and just made a phone call to his doctor to schedule an appointment.
2. Hong Man Choi’s medical record problem in the 2006 Las Vegas show
The California State Athletic Commision (CSAC) questioned the authenticity of Choi’s MRI reading when K-1 submitted it to the Nevada State Athletic Commision (NSAC.) The reading specifically states that Choi’s “pituitary structure is normal” but in the past, K-1 publicly stated that they knew he had a tumor in his brain. Why did the MRI reading say that his pituitary structure was normal when it was known that Choi had a tumor before he even joined K-1? The CSAC and the Korean media believe the MRI results were fake.
Keith Kizer and Armando Garcia were interviewed and also raised questioned the authenticity of these documents.
Also, the doctor who did the MRI reading (Dr. Kenji Nakayama) was an orthopedic surgeon. In other words, he wasn’t qualified enough to evaluate MRIs of the brain. Dr. Nakayama declined an interview with the reporters.
3. K-1’s salary and contract structure
The next topic discussed the “myth” of K-1 being a high paying organization. Several fighters in Korea alone have been rumored to receive around $1 million (one fighter was offered up to $3 million.) But managers and fighters (they interviewed Mu Bae Choi and some other anonymous fighters and managers) said that K-1 never pays that much money in reality. Only fighters like Hong Man Choi get paid that much, but other Korean fighters don’t. But the fighters who were interviewed were reluctant to discuss this issue. It turned out that their contracts had a nondisclosure agreement that fined the figher 10 times his contract money (I’m not 100% sure if it was 10 times the CONTRACT money… But it was 10 times something…) if he discloses his contract details. Other “unfair” clauses included in their contracts were:
a. The company was not responsible if the fighters don’t get insurance.
b. Any problems must be solved under Japanese law in the Tokyo Regional Court (Sorry I don’t know the exact name of the court.)
4. K-1’s treatment of Korean fighters & other issues
The last part of the show discussed the way K-1 treated Korean fighters. Basically, they were talking about how FEG matched up the relatively inexperienced Korean fighters against top Japanese/foreign fighters for popularity and that these Korean fighters end up being abandoned by K-1 for their poor performance. Personally, I don’t know what they’re complaining about. It’s obvious that this is a business, and the Korean media should know this.
Another issue they went over was K-1’s possible ties with organized crime. Mr. Funakawa (I’m not sure if I got the spelling right) from Shukan Gendai was interviewed and discussed the PRIDE situation and said that K-1 was no different. He said a lot of the money K-1 makes goes into Japanese organized crime gangs. The show briefly mentions the tax crimes and cases charged against K-1’s founder Mr. Kazuyoshi Ishii, and other shady aspects of K-1.
Lastly, it talked about the way FEG worked to gain sponsorships and TV rights, which are the biggest source of their revenue. The show found out that K-1 handed out 4,000 free complementary tickets in an event that totalled 10,000 2 years ago. A similar thing happened in 2006. It was said that K-1 specifically ordered to do this in order to gain sponsorsip deals and TV rights.