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Mr. Ishii would like to make you an offer you can’t refuse

By Zach Arnold | March 29, 2012

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The last time we talked about Godfather Ishii, we talked about how he was working as a referee at Korakuen Hall for high-schooler fights.

Now that we meet again, the Godfather has decided to chime in with an article penned under his name to discuss the recent AIJ pension fund loss cover-up scandal. Yes, the Godfather would love to talk to you about money management.

Which makes today’s news about shinsei K-1’s 2012 supposed event schedule even more curious. The promotion has no television deal in Japan, which was the basis of the entire financial model of K-1. Unless Ken Imai is back in the fold with his old running mate Ishii, it’s hard to see what exactly is happening here with this new attempt to get back into the game.

In short, the 2012 version of K-1 would feature an event calendar with no scheduled shows in Japan. The year-end prize would somehow be a $2 million USD purse. A big launch show will happen on May 27th in Madrid, Spain at Palacio Vista Aletre. There are promises of events this Summer in Europe and Asia, with the Fall & Winter featuring shows in Los Angeles & New York.

The “K-1 production team” put out this press release from Los Angeles this morning. The phone number listed is a 650 area code, which is… San Mateo (Bay Area).

Your guess is as good as mine if anyone is going to buy into this. Dan Herbertson is not:

$2 million in prize money for the new K-1 in 2012. How about you pay the fighters you already owe before boasting about prize money?

Worth noting that people who sign with the new K-1 get 50% of what they were owed by FEG. People not signing like Aerts, Overeem? Not sure.

Make the argument here to me that there’s a viable financial model here to what K-1 is trying to do with this schedule that doesn’t feature yakuza involvement.

Topics: Japan, K-1, Media, Zach Arnold | 8 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

8 Responses to “Mr. Ishii would like to make you an offer you can’t refuse”

  1. d says:

    Does Ishii, or in fact anyone in Japan at all, have anything to do with the “new” K-1? I was under the impression that FIKA was Ishii’s thing, and K-1 is now Simon Rutz and some Korean investor.

    • Zach Arnold says:

      You touched upon the messy part about that whole K-1-to-Barbizon transaction.

      You had FIKA/Ishii w/ K-1 Koshien rights. You had the actual K-1 rights with Barbizon, the Emcom transfer and Bas Boon’s comments about that ordeal.

  2. Jonathan says:

    I can almost guarantee that no one is going to get paid $2,000,000.00 US

  3. […] Arnold of Fight Opinion turns his barbs towards the money-management skills of K-1. Which makes today‚Äôs news about […]

  4. Dave says:

    The fact it is sourced to “K-1 Production Team” is more likely because of a mistake on the part of the editor at BusinessWire, who distributed that press release. I’ve worked within that industry, and some people if they don’t get pertinent information and are unaware of the business will just source whatever seems like it could be the company.

    Anyway, they are trying to work out a big deal with a big sports management company in the US and focus on China and the US as their main markets.

    I’m not sure that Japan will play much of a role in this iteration of K-1, which seems weird, but everyone involved has noted that a bulk of the talent is European and that Japan is struggling with combat sports.

    I’m just not sure the conversation of “well, no TV deal in Japan/no Japanese fighters” is entirely relevant to this K-1 right now.

    It is a Korean/Chinese businessman, who is in charge of a company with a good deal of capitol and has set up K-1 as a subsidiary of said company with Simon Rutz as the main advisor and booker.

    As for the whole “no one will get paid!” thing, I understand where it is coming from, but this is a weird situation.

  5. Cheese sushi says:

    What nonsense. The Korean guy mr Kim has a company called Emcom. It’s a small company, only 18 million in value and only 1 million in the bank, it’s a public company just google emcom. Emcom is a company with a core business in software for banks and some kind of currency trading system or something, can’t figure out how that relates to kickboxing or entertainment industry, this emcom comoany has been bleeding money these last years. Its all on the internet. The Japanese trademarks to K1 got transferred to Emcom, but hey still don’t own them what i’ve heard is that emcom assumed the loan from barbizon and does not want to actually take the trademarks formally because that would mean FEG must go bankrupt because it’s FEG that owes the money to all the fighters.! Ishii still owns the international trademarks he is secretly trying to transfer them to hong kong. Ishii still partner with Kim anybody doing biz with these guys is dong biz wi yakuza, plain and simple

    American companies don’t like doing business with gangsters, and china? Anybody heard of wu ling fin or c1-k? No chance for k1.

    The sport is evolving anyway, onefc an amazing new promotion coming out of Singapore , glory world series all the best kick boxers anyway

    • Dave says:

      How does Glory have the best Kickboxers when Daniel Ghita and everyone who isn’t Giorgio Petrosyan in 70kg aren’t with Glory?

      You are correct on some of the trademark BS, too.

      Kim does have his reasons for wanting to get into the strange world of Kickboxing while his core business is flailing, though. He has been extremely aggressive about it.

    • Dave says:

      Basically, my main point is; Bas Boon and K-1 being in a pissing contest is really bad for everyone. Without them working together the fans won’t get what they want to see, the fighters don’t get to fight to see who is the best and the promoters don’t get the tournaments they want to put on.

      The Glory shows are great and serve their purpose, their Heavyweight tournament will be great, but still missing HALF of the top 10 list that we have on LiverKick. The 70kg tournament features one of the top 10.

      K-1 has the same problem but in different areas.

      Everyone’s ego is getting in their way.


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