You know that old saying, where there’s smoke, there’s fire? Well, the house that Japanese MMA built has been on fire for a while, and finally a few people in Japan are starting to admit they smell smoke. The latest:
Head Kick Legend has been alerted over the past few days that the situation within FEG is possibly dire, as we’ve seen over the past few weeks, there are massive problems with Dynamite!! 2010. Dynamite!! will happen, that much is clear. It looks like at the K-1World Grand Prix on December 11 we’ll start hearing more information as to what will happen with the show. All reports have been that PPV will most likely be the Japanese home for Dynamite!! and HDnet will air it live as well, other than that, nothing. Consider this a blackout, as Japanese PPV is hardly widespread and this event has a long history of being free on New Year’s Eve.
What we have been alerted to is that FEG is looking for buyers. This comes from a reliable source within the company who wished to remain anonymous due to loyalty to the company, but even then, this employee is extremely frustrated and concerned about their future. Ishii has always stated that DREAM would be the first to go if need be, but this source explicitly mentioned K-1.
But what about that Chinese investment firm that was going to jizz money all up in FEG’s cootch? From Fighters Only:
According to our agent source, PUJI has discovered that the Japanese fight-sport market is worth less than initially estimated (or than it was initially told) and $200 million has proved to be a hopelessly unrealistic figure.
PUJI also found that investors who expressed an interest in FEG were nevertheless not willing to part with cash unless some management restructuring was put in place. When this met with resistance at FEG, the parties in question lost interest.
This goes beyond shooting oneself in the foot straight into seppuku territory. To make things worse:
Unable to obtain loans or capital from investors FEG has, according to our souce, gone to the ‘black market’ for loans with which to pay its fighters. This of course raises the spectre of the Yakuza links which killed PRIDE FC, but FEG has always been fastidious about avoiding such links (or at least, having any such links made public). Seeking capital from ‘unofficial’ sources is a very risky move.
Despite the difficulty FEG and PUJI have had in raising investment, there are several interested parties hovering in the wings if the company is put up for sale.
Initial talks have already happened with some of these parties but even then, they are said to have been put off by opaque financial accounts and an absence of, or unwillingness to, go through the due diligence process which is standard practice with the sale of any business.
Unfortunately for FEG, the UFC already bought a Japanese lemon promotion before and I don’t think Lorenzo Fertitta is going to fall for that particular trick again.