The world of kickboxing has been in turmoil since Japanese promotion K-1 fell apart a few years back. On their way down they stiffed tons of fighters for money, which is pretty much the sketchiest thing you can do as a fight promoter. If the world was just, they’d get a good Overeem-style face shoving right out of the scene. But since the world isn’t, it looks like the same dirtbags are preparing to try and bring K-1 back yet again.
To understand what’s up, you need a bit of background. There are two key characters on the K-1 side of things: founder Kazuyoshi Ishii and president Sadaharu Tanigawa. Ishii was in charge during the glory days of K-1 until he had to go to jail over tax evasion charges. Enter Tanigawa, who runs parent company FEG and the little MMA promotion that couldn’t, DREAM. Most people blame him for everything that’s gone wrong with K-1 and while I’m sure there were mitigating circumstances (like the Japanese fight scene going down the toilet), it’s hard to look past all the sketchy lies and nonpayments done while he has been at the head.
The story is Ishii has teamed up with Dutch kickboxing camp Golden Glory and Total Sports Asia to bring kickboxing back. Meanwhile, Tanigawa has teamed up with rival Dutch promotion It’s Showtime and a shadowy figure named Mr Kim to revive K-1. Last week, the Golden Glory guys started signing up former K-1 fighters by offering them full payment on what K-1 owed. Meanwhile, Ishii and Mr Kim transfered the K-1 brand to a business owned by Kim and sent out contracts of their own, offering 50% of owed moneys to fighters willing to sign on. Thus far, It’s Showtime fighters are the main ones taking K-1 up on that offer.
So this basically boils down to a proxy battle between the guys who are trying to rip Alistair Overeem off and the guys who are being driven out of Amsterdam for having too many criminal connections. Stuck inbetween are the fans, who just wanna see some top-tier kickboxing from time to time involving some fighters that actually matter.