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Joe Rogan: If NASCAR’s not a monopoly, UFC isn’t either (and they should buy K-1)

By Zach Arnold | November 1, 2011

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Our friend Dave Walsh thinks K-1 would be a great buying opportunity. Joe Rogan agrees with him. However, I don’t think Dana White can buy out K-1 because, after all, Viacom buying out Bellator means that UFC is a “Mom & Pop” MMA organization.

“You know, people always say that the UFC is a monopoly, you know, they’re actually being even investigated by someone, Federal, Federal Trade, FTC, Federal Trade Commission and they’re being investigated as being a monopoly but… it’s not a monopoly, they just do it better than anybody else. It’s like you can’t say that NASCAR is a monopoly but… if you wanted to say, hey, let’s start up our own fucking car league, you know, we’re just going to race cars all across the country. What are you going to call it, the New Car League? Everybody would be like, ‘but it’s not NASCAR, right? No.’ Well, it’s not NASCAR has a monopoly, it’s just they’re the best at it. You could start your own car league if you want to.

“That’s the same thing with the UFC. The UFC’s not a monopoly, you know? They just have the best fighters right now because they have the most money and the most popularity. But they built this shit up, man! If you want to do it by yourself, do it by yourself. And Bellator’s doing it by themselves. There’s a company called Bellator, they’re fucking, they’ve got some good fighters, man. They’ve got a good show, they got this guy Jimmy Smith who does the commentary, he’s really good at it, he’s a black belt in jiu-jitsu, knows what the fuck is going on, he gives excellent commentary, their color guy’s really good. They have a good show. They do a different format where they have tournaments and they hold this tournament and the tournament takes place over several weeks or several months rather and then they pick a guy who wins the tournament and then he fights for the title and, you know, they do a fucking real good job, man, they do a real good job of it and they just got bought out by Viacom.

Loretta Hunt: Eddie Alvarez almost bought part of Bellator before Viacom did

“So, it’s not that the UFC is a monopoly, there’s other people in the game. They’ve just been in the game longer, they spent more money, they invested more time, they do it better! It’s that simple. You know, it’s like… there’s a certain amount of people that whenever you get to a certain level of success, they want to think that you did something wrong to get there. But if it wasn’t for the UFC, man, nobody would have invested that kind of money. Eventually, I think, MMA would have slowly broken through to the mainstream over the course of who knows how many years or it could have been wound up like soccer where everybody thought it was going to make it but it never did. You remember soccer when we were kids? They were pushing soccer like soccer’s eventually going to be a big professional sport? I remember that. But they just never quite marketed it correctly, never quite got through…

“If someone’s smart, if someone’s got balls, listen to me right now… This is the thing… K-1 kickboxing. K-1 kickboxing is some of the much exciting shit to watch in the world. If you watch the highest level of kickboxers, God damn is that shit exciting. It’s so fucking fun to watch. They go at it, man, it’s only three rounds, even title fights are like three rounds, they fucking go to WAR, man. And some of the fights are five rounds, I think, but either way… they’re fun and it’s all striking, which is what a lot of people like, a lot of people don’t like the wrestling aspect of MMA. I love it because I think it’s the most realistic sport in the world, I mean, it is real fighting, it’s a sport of real fighting encompassing all the different techniques. So, to me, it’s more complicated, it’s more cerebral, there’s more strategy involved because there’s more variables. I’m always going to be a huge fan of primarily MMA. If I had one thing to watch it would be MMA, but I love fucking kickboxing, too. I love watching it. It’s so much more exciting than regular boxing and we know how boxing is still doing well, people still want to see a good boxing match, you know? If Manny Pacquiao’s fighting, people are still going to pack in to see that guy light people up. But, man, if you watch some high-level kickboxing, boxing becomes boring because they can’t kick! They’re not doing all this other crazy shit. You watch like, I went to the Muay Thai Professional League, they had a show in Long Beach and I went down to check that shit out… God damn it was fun, dude, there was some of the best kickboxers in the world and I was in the front row and watching these guys go at it, man, it’s wiiiiiilllllllld, wild shit because they don’t have to worry about being taken down, there’s no takedowns. So, they’re just fucking teeing off on each other, man. Wild head kick knockouts and spinning backfist knockouts and cutting people with elbows, it was nuts, man. It’s a crazy sport. I can’t believe that it doesn’t get the press that it deserves because maybe it’s not as good as MMA but, God damn, if it ain’t a close second. And it’s not being promoted! Someone’s completely dropped the ball, you know?

“The people who own K-1, they owe a lot of money, man. They want to start fights but they want to not half to pay all the fighters that they owe money to and they owe just fucking untold millions of dollars to fighters that they haven’t paid. So, they’re in a bad financial situation but it’s because they didn’t promote it correctly. If someone in like the UFC came along, if Zuffa came along and picked up K-1, they’re not interested in it, I’ve talked to them about it, but if someone like that did, if Mark Cuban did or someone with balls and a lot of money who loves the sport, God damn that’s a gold mine. It’s a God damn gold mine. Mark Cuban, go do it! You already got Michael Schiavello working for you.”

Topics: Bellator, K-1, Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 34 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

34 Responses to “Joe Rogan: If NASCAR’s not a monopoly, UFC isn’t either (and they should buy K-1)”

  1. ot says:

    In terms of a purchase by Zuffa, there are too many problems with K-1. After buying Pride, Zuffa learned to be safe in Japan. As Zach reported, Zuffa is doing a sold show for UFC in Japan. Also, there is no need to spend more money. Zuffa could promote kickboxing via Strikeforce.

    • Aunt Jemima says:

      They don’t need to own k1 they just need to revert Strikeforce back to kickboxing and let Scott Coker get to work signing top international talent. It could wind up supplanting mma in popularity.Either way Zuffa wins.

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    If you let K-1 die, it increases the talent pool for MMA.

    • Alan Conceicao says:

      Why, is MMA replacing kickboxing as the dominant martial arts competition in Thailand, The Netherlands, or Eastern Europe? Because otherwise, that’s not going to happen. MMA already offers a lot more money than kickboxing. Same with boxing. The guys who would transition over generally already have at least attempted it.

    • Dave says:

      It really doesn’t. A lot of those guys hate grappling and most Kickboxers with MMA records have bad MMA records. Badr Hari swore he’d never do MMA again and has gone on public tirades against “hugging and shit” and chose Heavyweight Boxing as his next step, as did every fighter who wants to try something else outside of maybe Tyrone Spong who is just hanging out with the wrong people for his skill set.

      A guy like Overeem is a bit of a freak thing. He started out in Kickboxing but didn’t like it, so he took grappling more seriously and started fighting in MMA. He continued to train Kickboxing seriously on its own as he fought and had success in MMA and was able to compete in K-1 with his Kickboxing skill set.

      But look at a guy like Cosmo Alexandre. Cosmo is the real deal in Muay Thai and Kickboxing (we have him at #3 for 77kgs), but in MMA he looked terrible against a nobody.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      If kickboxing isn’t an option, then it will change the options for newer fighters first starting off.

      I agree, it won’t change the current crop of fighters.

      But it can increase the number of Heavyweights in MMA slightly.

      I’m not saying this will be a huge change. It won’t be. But it wil be a small increase.

      I just don’t think it benefits Zuffa from keeping kickboxing alive.

      • Alan Conceicao says:

        Why would it change the number of heavyweights in MMA? Killing a sport to add 1-2 Golden Glory guys is LOL stuff.

  3. Alan Conceicao says:

    Buying K-1 is a waste of money. You’re better off starting your own title belt and working with the dominant gyms/promoters to fight for whatever that belt is.

    • Dave says:

      It is a Catch 22. K-1 created a ruleset and a strong brand that is used worldwide. Fight promoters say “K-1 fight” when they book a fighter in a Kickboxing bout, international governing bodies that we all laugh at claim K-1 rules and everyone in the US equates K-1 with Kickboxing.

      It is a lot like how UFC is MMA and vice versa. Other people do MMA, but it is ‘UFC.’ It’s Showtime puts on good (not great) shows and uses their own rules, has probably half or more of the elite talent pool under some form of contract yet don’t catch on with fans.

      • Alan Conceicao says:

        K-1 was given legitimacy because it spent money to have all the top heavyweight fighters and to keep them. OK, OK, there’s a couple guys that aren’t there because of the rules (one particular Aussie with legendary elbows comes to mind we’ve talked about on many occasions), but for the most part, everyone of value in the last 15 years has rolled through K-1. What I’m saying is that if you have the money to attract the big names and get the guys from the different camps fighting, you do not need the K-1 name or even the K-1 rules should you so desire. The names validate the promotion, and whatever new promotion that wants to exist who can bring all those top guys together would make K-1 a thing of the past instantly.

  4. Dave says:

    For what it’s worth, I’ve spoken with a lot of people who are starting to turn around on Kickboxing and considering putting some money into it. In the US it could definitely have an audience.

  5. edub says:

    Random thought/question to everybody on here:

    How much would kick boxing sell with the UFC name on it in the US? Do you think it could make a comeback to a semi-poularity like it had in the 80’s?

    Personally, I don’t think they need K-1. They have the K-1 champ. They could use guys like Rampage, Barry, Vera, Diabate, and others in super fights. And they could just cherry pick other top talent from around the world.

    I’d like to see it, but maybe I’m an anomaly.

  6. edub says:

    Anthony Johnson is finally moving to MW.

    It’s going to be funny to see a career WW move up to 185, and tower over a guy who was a career LHW.

    I got AJ by KO or Dec.

    Let the Anderson SIlva comparisons begin!

    • RST says:

      So shmilvuh has cleared out 185 for years and now he’ll hang around for challenges from a smaller weight class.

      How P4P.

      But I wonder if its at least as much or even more dana’s decision for a.s. to hang around like a shmotoy?

      I can totally picture dana preferring for a.s. to look dynamic trouncing no competition as long as it makes him look invincible to the fanboi scum.

      dana’s favorite sport these days (more then MMA?),
      image wrangling!

  7. Tradition Rules says:

    Why buy K-1?

    And this is coming from a K-1 fan,…

    If ZUFFA really wanted to get into kickboxing, they’d best have a chance at success by allowing elbows and knees, the clinch and going with rules similar to San Shou, Shootboxing or Kyuk Tu Ki, allowing throws and, *maybe*, some standing submissions.

    American kickboxing is watered down kickboxing: no leg kicks, no knees OR elbow,…some even penalize a fighter for not cleanly hitting the opponent in the body or head, meaning the arm. Silly….

    A new “American Kickboxing” style organization would just be a waste. So many fans of MMA watch it BECAUSE it’s not boxing, American kickboxing will NOT attract new fans, it has too many …”restrictions”, or lack of freedom for fans in this country.

    *IF* ZUFFA was interested in kickboxing, just turn StrikeForce back into a kickboxing organization, since that is what it originally was.

    • Dave says:

      Who said anything about another promotion using those awful Full Contact rules? WCL tried that and it failed for many reasons, but those terrible rules were up there.

      If someone else were to move into Kickboxing it would be more like Muay Thai without the traditional elements to it, and Muay Thai is legal in a bunch of places.

      • Tradition Rules says:

        Just making a statement, because, fans this side of the Pacific want “Action,action,action!”, and those Full Contact rules ARE awful, you are right. But with so many in this country “afraid” of elbows, and even knees,YOU KNOW a know it all who knows nothing will say “this is how it should be.

  8. If Zuffa would purchase the K-1 rights it could be there way into the European market. Zuffa still does not make any money over here and there is a reason for that: MMA looks brutal and people in Europe are much more sensitive when it comes to fighting. K-1 always had some success over here because for the average sports fan it was so easy to understand and looked like boxing with kicks allowed only that it was way more exciting!

    To build up a new brand for kickboxing does not make any sense as it would take a lot more money than to just buy the K-1 rights. If you start kickboxing events under the k-1 label people would buy tickets immedeately. It would also be easy to bring it back to TV as the stations know it and it is accepted.

    I know a lot of people who would love to see new K-1 events and not one of them is watching MMA…

    To come back to my statement from the beginning: If Zuffa would purchase the K-1 rights they could immediately start K-1 events as they have a lot of fighters they could use for such an event and they also could afford some well-known kickboxers to join them.
    Later on there could be UFC vs K-1 champion matches, some cross promotion and people would start to watch the UFC too.

    But Joe Rogan said on different occasions that there is no interest in it and Dana White said it once too if I remember correctly. So the UFC will still struggle to get a foot on European mainland.

    Of course you hear Dana White brag about it all the time how successful they are everywhere they go but for Europe that is not true at all. Nobody even recognized the German events and if there is some press coverage in the mass media it is most likely negative press. Now they are trying to go to France because they do not know what to do. The result will be pretty much the same…

  9. ot says:

    As to antitrust law, Zuffa may have a monopoly over MMA but it would not face government intervention as long as it avoids illegal action such “price-fixing conspiracies, corporate mergers likely to reduce the competitive vigor of particular markets, and predatory acts designed to achieve or maintain monopoly power.”

    Furthermore, it is important to note that the sports entertainment market includes MMA, boxing, pro wrestling, football, baseball, etc.

    • Chuck says:

      I’m hardly an expert on anti-trust laws, but I think it’s safe to say that Zuffa comes pretty close to being guilty of
      “predatory acts designed to achieve or maintain monopoly power.”. Maybe they haven’t quite reached that threshold, but they come pretty damn close.

      • ot says:

        Chuck: An example of “predatory acts” could be the time Zuffa banned fighters from wearing Affliction clothing. Then the question would be whether that act achieved or maintain Zuffa’s alleged monopoly over MMA in light of the overall sports entertainment market.

        Michael Rome: Please give us more of your insight.

        • Chuck says:

          That, but especially when Zuffa forced their fighters to sign that videogame likeness rights clause that shit-canned Jon Fitch and AKA for a short while. And Dana trying to force fighters into NOT signing with EA for their MMA game (but nothing really came from that considering that Frank Trigg was still in the game when he signed with UFC, etc).

          How about Zuffa buying out various companies? Especially Strikeforce, who were doing pretty fine for themselves at the time.

      • ot says:

        Chuck: Thank you for adding value to the conversation.

        Employment law is an additional issue when Zuffa deals with video games, likeness rights and endorsements.

        As to Zuffa buying Strikeforce and other companies, we need to examine if it results in “mergers likely to reduce the competitive vigor of particular markets”. In the sports entertainment market there are many competitors such as Zuffa, Bellator, Top Rank, Golden Boy, MLB, NFL, WWE, etc. Does Zuffa reduce competition in the sports entertainment market when it buys certain companies? If so, to what degree and is it significant in terms of antitrust law?

        • Chuck says:

          Yeah, I don’t think Zuffa has crossed that threshold yet. So, under anti-trust laws, MMA is part of sports entertainment, just like WWE and TNA? And NFL, MLB, NHL, etc. are counted as the same thing, all being sports entertainment? Well, I guess Zuffa hasn’t come that close yet. Thank you for the additional info.

        • ot says:

          Chuck: DOJ, FTC, and the courts would most likely examine Zuffa activity in terms of different market views. Some of the possible markets would include the MMA market itself, the fighting market of MMA, boxing, etc., and the overall sports entertainment market.

  10. Michael Rome says:

    Good general rule: Anyone who makes a blanket statement about antitrust law on the internet probably has no idea what they’re talking about.

    It’s one of the most complicated areas of the law, and you cite to investopedia as proof the UFC isn’t culpable for any antitrust violations? Someone alert the FTC to investopedia’s web page, they could save a lot of time!

    There are more ways to violate federal antitrust laws than “being a monopoly.”

    • ot says:

      Rome: Exactly, it was a general comment using a broad interpretation of the law. Please notice the use of “may have a monopoly”. There was no determination of the matter because “may” means speculative, as in “it may rain tonight”. Also, let us know about the “more ways to violate federal antitrust laws than “being a monopoly.”” Since you are the expert, you are able to criticize in a way that adds value to the conversation.

  11. RST says:

    Dont really see the value in UFC buying k1.

    1. Not much luck buying a Japanese Org last time.
    More then likely cant run it in Japan and murika isn’t kickboxing territory.

    2. UFC is not in the kickboxing business.
    UFC trying to establish KB in murika would only be competing with itself and distract from MMA as a sport since MMA is already KB but better.

    It seems rather obvious that the dutch/golden glory/its showtime should takeover K1 is anybody should, and if THEY’RE not biting then that says everything IMO.

  12. jon says:

    Soccer? There’s more money in soccer than any other sport in the world.
    Although I understand he’s just talking about the US market, maybe he should broaden his horizons. There’s alot of money ins port outside the US.

  13. […] Joe Rogan Wants the UFC to Buy K-1 ( […]

  14. […] one of Joe Rogan’s highly entertaining “The Joe Rogan Experience” videos, the UFC color-man discusses why the UFC is NOT a monopoly and why the UFC should purchase the […]

  15. […] Joe Rogan tried to talk the Zuffa boys into buying K-1, but they weren’t interested. (Fight Opinion) […]


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