If you thought lifting up stars so they could then slam back into the dirt as hard as possible was largely a North American and UK thing, think again. Over in South Korea they’ve quickly taken the art of annihilating their celebrities to the next level, with intense public pressure being considered at least partially responsible for the suicides of pop stars like Choi Jin Shil and U;Nee amongst others. In addition to an unrelenting dickface media, there’s also the ‘Korean Netizens’ who do stuff like start petitions for celebrities to commit suicide. Now it looks like this pissed off mob is after Hong Man Choi. From Fighters Only:
The trouble started for HMC when he was accused of dodging his legally required national service with South Korea’s armed forces. This turned many fans and members of the general public against him, as national service is taken extremely seriously in that country.
That scandal, combined with a series of losses in his K-1 fans, has made his stock almost worthless according to South Korean television executives. Two years ago they were paying K-1 around $1.5m USD for the rights to screen events, with HMC a cornerstone of the Korean broadcasts.
Now the contract is up for renegotiation and that figure is set to be slashed. Funding may even be pulled altogether if it is not deemed worth screening K-1 events without a significant Korean presence being involved in the competition.
Fighters Only finishes up by mentioning Choi’s struggle ‘with depression and suicidal thoughts in the past’, so it sounds like the 7’2 Techno Goliath may only be a few hard shoves away from a Britney Spears style meltdown (or worse). I can’t imagine what being held responsible for the decline of an entire sport must be like for the psyche, but it’s probably not good.
It’s pretty unfair too … if anyone is responsible for K-1’s decline in Korea, it’s their parent company FEG. They treat Koreans like shit and outside of the undercards at events in the country, Koreans get booked almost exclusively in squash roles. This past New Years Eve at K-1’s Dynamite the only Korean on the card was a jobber for Omigawa who’s recent record was 0-6-2, and everyone in the crowd had a good laugh at his expense when he got kicked in the junk (really, that happened). Rather than blame Hong Man Choi, perhaps the Korean media should blame their entire weak roster or FEG for not working harder at developing new Korean talent.