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Tuesday trouble: TBS producer in hot water?

By Zach Arnold | April 23, 2007

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A story under the radar right now that could make some major waves is an article in the latest edition of Shukan Post, which claims that “Mr. X” could be in a lot of trouble (my personal guess is that they are referring to Ushio Higuchi, the main producer of K-1 events on Tokyo Broadcasting System). Higuchi also produced the show SASUKE, which is an obstacle course competition show. In the past, Higuchi also was involved in the show Muscle Ranking (Kinniku Banzuke). The teaser claims that “Mr. X” maintained power in TBS due to his close ties to the kakutougi (fight) scene.

Update: I just read the three-page Shukan Post article (pages 44, 45, and 46). It’s a weird deal. I’ll try to break down essentially the theme of the article. The obstacle course game show SASUKE had contestants who supposedly got hurt in accidents while participating on the game show, but these accidents were hidden or not discussed. Sankei Shimbun (a newspaper that is part of the FujiSankei media conglomerate) ‘exposed’ the hidden accidents from the game show. The article’s theme talks about how Ushio Higuchi placed himself in a position to make a lot of money from the game show on TBS (legally) but that the contestant accidents caused trouble for him. (They showed a picture of a person in a wheelchair in the three-page spread.) Shukan Post tries to claim that a reason Higuchi has power in TBS is because of his relationship with K-1 power broker Kazuyoshi Ishii, and because K-1 does good ratings it gives Higuchi a power base to rely on for security. Fuji TV people are quoted in the article.

It’s an article in the sense that while it feels entirely like a rebuttal against TBS/K-1 for what Shukan Gendai did to PRIDE & Kunio Kiyohara, the article is not as heavy or explosive in nature unlike the Gendai articles (which were heavy-duty explosive written pieces). Essentially, the tone of the article is to make Higuchi look like a bad guy who made a lot of money off the misery of contestants who were involved in accidents (expensive office for production company, a ferrari, expensive house, etc.) and that the only reason he has power with TBS is because of his relationship with Ishii and the SASUKE show on the network.

Onto today’s headlines.

  1. Scientific Wrestling: Josh Barnett interview
  2. CBS Sportsline: Parity in MMA is good for growth
  3. The Los Angeles Times: Dana White claims he thought Gonzaga would beat Mirko (he then blames Mirko’s ‘guys’ aka Ken Imai for wanting the fight)
  4. MMA California: Former NFL star takes fourth MMA win in Redding, California
  5. Five Ounces of Pain: Mike Swick to fight at welterweight
  6. MMA Insider: Is this the era of parity in the UFC?
  7. Jake Rossen: Boxing in MMA’s Shadow
  8. The Mirror (UK): Kerry Katona in cage war walkout (“I didn’t know it would be violent”)
  9. The Associated Press: Nebraska lawmakers want to regulate MMA
  10. The Hilton Island Packet: Ex pro-wrestler Sean O’Haire charged in island brawl
  11. The Mainichi Daily News: Tochiazuma hospitalized, unlikely to join May sumo tournament
  12. UFC HP: Josh Burkman vs. Karo Parisyan booked for UFC 71
  13. The Orange County Register: Irvine gym hosts its first MMA fight
  14. UFC Junkie: David Heath ‘apologizes’ for boring UFC 70 fight

Topics: Boxing, Japan, K-1, Media, MMA, UFC, UK, Zach Arnold | 10 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

10 Responses to “Tuesday trouble: TBS producer in hot water?”

  1. white ninja says:

    great quotes from Dana White

    Dana has great 20/20 hindsight (but he did look pretty surprised at the time)-

    “I actually favored Gonzaga in that fight. I didn’t favor him by head kick though….” UFC President Dana White said.

    Crocop’s managers want to milk the UFC contract –

    White suggests that the decision to have Cro Cop face Gonzaga was as much Cro Cop’s decision as UFC’s. “Cro Cop’s guys wanted to have a couple fights before they fought Randy Couture. And to be honest with you I think they wanted the fights to milk the contract.”

    DANA has a sense of humour:-

    As for Cro Cop’s future, UFC doesn’t have any set plans. “No idea. I don’t even know what he wants to do next,” White said. “I’ll have to talk to his people, see what he’s thinking, see where his head is, no pun intended.”

    White says that Cro Cop’s next opponent is likely to be high profile. “I think he needs to go out and fight a big name guy. Gonzaga’s an awesome fighter but nobody knew who he was.”

    Looking to the future, White is excited about the upcoming heavyweight title fight. “Gonzaga looked awesome. He looked impressive, he dominated the whole fight and he won. He was the better fighter and he deserved to get the title shot.”

  2. The Citizen says:

    Elbow, Elbow, Elbow, Elbow, Elbow, stand up, sleepy Cro-Cop, who are you. . . where are you. . .why did you not fight like you did in Pride? Did not defend the take-down, did not yell and hone in the the precision of the Terminator to destroy with punches. — none of these things happened. But dont worry. Dana will see where your head is. Maybe you can drop weight and fight the Great Tito Ortiz? If anyone has been to a live Pride show, it is easy to see why the UFC is a subclass organization. They have to get a huge clue on how to make fighters and fights. I’m taking a break from all this “MMA.” Its time to get back to basics, namely the HKKA.

  3. Liger05 says:

    Dana is the boss and makes the fights. He cant blame Mirko’s people.

  4. Stu says:

    It’s interesting to see the magazines specializing in organizations, Gendai in PRIDE and Post in K-1.

  5. white ninja says:

    the POST article specifically names people from Sankei Shimbun (Fuji TVs parent company) and also from Fuji TV, So its pretty clear, Fuji is trying to shoot back at TBS for the PRIDE/Kiyohara/Yakuza scandal

    problem is that apart from hiding injuries to contestants on sasuke and how rich Higuchi is, there doesnt seem to be much “scandal” in the post article

  6. CapnHulk says:

    It’s called Viking: The Ultimate Obstacle Course, but I don’t know what the equivalent of that is in Japanese. It used to come on ESPN2, but I don’t know if it does anymore. I thought it was pretty entertaining for the most part.

    Reminded me of GUTS! and other shows like that.

  7. Drew says:

    SASUKE airs in America on the G4 network under the name “Ninja Warrior”, with replays all the time. Good show too. Occasionally they have Pro Wrestlers and K-1 fighter’s on the show.

  8. The Gaijin says:

    I’m pretty sure Joe Silva’s the one that actually makes the fights. Granted White probably has his ear.

    But I agree, its pretty F%$^ing ridiculous they’re blaming Cro Cop and his handlers for the fight. Give me a break.

  9. lost in ube says:

    I would have thought that people who were going to be on a televised obstacle course would have to sign a waiver making injuries not the sole responsibility of the producers.
    This isn’t the first time that people have gotten hurt during SASUKE and for some reason, TBS never reports the injuries in a timely manner. The latest SASUKE happened in early March, was broadcast late-March and the reports of the injuries didn’t come out until early this month:
    http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/national/news/20070406p2a00m0et011000c.html
    None of the non-celebrity injuries were broadcast (I think).
    I read somewhere that the previous show connected to SASUKE, Golden Muscle was canceled because people were injured but I’ve yet to confirm that news.
    Since they revamped the first stage this year one would have assumed that a lot of people would have gotten injured since contestants don’t get a look at the new obstacles until the day of the competition.
    CapnHulk: VIKING and SASUKE are two different shows but produced by the same company (Monster 9) and featuring the same contestants.
    G4 has yet to air the 18th competition in the US.

  10. […] for K-1 broadcasts on Tokyo Broadcasting System is Ushio Higuchi. Shukan Post recently attempted a negative campaign against Higuchi, but it didn’t go very […]

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