Fighting and Entertainment Group (FEG), the parent company behind the DREAM mixed martial arts promotion and K-1 kickboxing organization, might be setting up shop next to the Salvation Army this holiday season looking for a few bucks as you jam the local shopping mall.
That's because Simon Rutz from "It's Showtime" today (Oct. 17, 2011) posted a message on his official website claiming FEG was "technically bankrupt" and canceling its upcoming K-1 World Grand Prix:
FEG, the parent company of the former K-1 brand, is technically bankrupt. The name K-1 lays now at the Japanese company Barbizon. There are 2 serious parties now, which try to pull the K-1 brand name towards themselves and place this in a new company.
This year there will be no K-1 Final Elimination and K-1 World Grand Prix Final for the following reasons:
-It's currently unknown which investor gets Mr. Ishii's signature
-There's not enough time left to organize such a big event
-The visas for the fighters to travel to China haven't been arranged and these are essential to be able to fight there
From next year there will be a new and healthy company that will work on the worldwide brand of K-1.
The oft-used term "K-1 level striker" may no longer carry the same meaning in today's landscape of cagefighting, as MMA fighters continue to evolve while kickboxers pound the pavement looking for a place to ply their trade.
Perhaps "The Reem" got out while the gettin' was good.
Alistair Overeem's crossover appeal helped attract MMA fans to the striking-only sport, but after capturing the world title in 2010, "Demolition Man" eventually abandoned his post at Strikeforce to assume an exclusive role with Ultimate Fighting Championship.
While K-1 has an extensive roster of popular and talented kickboxers, their inclusion in the "Final 16," scheduled to go down in less than two weeks at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium in China, was speculative at best.
With only two weeks until the show, tickets not on sale, fighters and managers publicly saying that they are off the show, and K-1's biggest partner gearing up to pull their fighters, it certainly seems like this is a done deal. I would expect K-1 will keep trying to pull it together and will resist officially cancelling until the last minute. Given their track record, don't be surprised if they actually cancel the Final 16, but still say a Final 8 will happen in December. But at this point, it's time to accept facts. The best kickboxing tournament in the world is over.
The future of K-1 depends largely on the ability to secure investors for the tried-and-true "under new management" approach. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen.