K-1 Global claims ownership of video library licensed by Glory to UFC Fight Pass

February 15, 2016

Kickboxing organization K-1 Global issued a response Monday morning in reaction to the announcement by UFC Fight Pass that the over the top digital platform will air Glory.  It appears that the K-1 may take issue with the ownership of its events.

In an email from its press office, K-1 made it known that it is the current and only owner of the K-1 trademarks and other K-1 related assets under the control of K-1 Global.  As such, it states that if any of its owned assets are to be used, it would need the permission of K-1 Global “before any such deal could be brokered.”  Thus, despite a deal with Glory, UFC Fight Pass would have to sign a deal with K-1 Global.

“No other third party has the rights or permission to sell K-1’s assets, nor has K-1 given any permission for such a sale,” states the email from K-1 Global.

The email states that during the bankruptcy of FEG in September 2013, it sold parts of the GLORY Sports International library that it had no legal rights to sell.  K-1 Global claims that it already had purchased the assets and thus any subsequent transfer of the rights to the library would be null.  It states that there is a legal process under way in Japan.  The press release does not state anything further about the current legal issue in Japan.

UPDATED:  For those wondering, Glory was to begin airing on UFC Fight Pass in two weeks time.   From the UFC press release, the Glory addition would have added, “over 2000 hours of elite striking action including the 27-event GLORY archive, seven major events from the It’s Showtime library and over 100 events from the iconic K-1 organization that featured athletes like Mark Hunt, Mirko Cro Cop and Alistair Overeem.”

Payout Perspective:

We’re not experts in Japanese Bankruptcy Law but it looks like K-1 is claiming it is the rightful owner of the video library and believes that if FEG sold the video library to Glory, it did not have the rights to do so.  As a result, it appears that K-1 Global might prevent the launch of Glory on UFC Fight Pass as there seems to be a dispute with respect to the ownership of the video library.  Certainly, UFC Fight Pass and Glory might be able to air videos not in dispute but that was not likely the financial arrangement.  Look for a lawsuit between K-1 Global and Glory if a deal is not negotiated between all parties.

Fight Pass adds Glory Superfight Series and Eddie Bravo Invitational

February 11, 2016

UFC Fight Pass announced new content to its digital platform adding Glory Superfight Series and the Eddie Bravo Invitational.  The additions bring more content to Fight Pass.

According to the UFC Fight Pass press release Glory SuperFight Series will start on Fight pass in two weeks while EBI will appear in April.

Per the Glory press release, it states that UFC Fight Pass has licensed the Glory kickboxing library “including access to events and individual fights from promotions like GLORY , K-1, It’s Showtime, and others.”

Payout Perspective:

Fight Pass is making a concerted effort to expand this year.  Later this month, UFC Fight Night on Fight Pass will feature Anderson Silva taking on Michael Bisping in what is the biggest fight on the platform since its inceptions.  The addition of kickboxing and jiu-jitsu should satiate the combat sports fan that are fans of those disciplines.  While we will never see subscription numbers, one would think that the acquisitions would help boost revenue for the business.  For Glory, the move helps the company with its North American fan based.  As it no longer appears on Spike TV, it is finding a temporary home on ESPN.

Spike TV looking to air kickboxing

January 11, 2013

MMA Fighting reports that Spike TV is looking into airing kickboxing as a way to cross promote TNA Wrestling and Bellator.  Spike TV may look to the Glory promotion as a kickboxing possibility as its partnership with K-1 is over.

Although K-1 and Spike TV announced a relationship this past summer, due to poor viewership on Spike.com and K-1 was not renewed for 2013.  Spike is looking at the Glory organization but no official partnership has occurred.

Payout Perspective:

The combat sports strategy of Spike TV may be seen as a way to compete with the UFC or solidifying its base of the young male demographic. Its interesting that Bellator and Spike are looking to MMA fighters to participate in kickboxing events.  The move could benefit fighters as they cross from MMA to kickboxing it can bring more notoriety.  It also could backfire as Bellator fighters could be injured in kickboxing matches.  But, understand why Bellator would want to use its fighters for a kickboxing show as it tries to market its fighters.

In the alternative, the Glory organization could provide viewers with high level kickboxers.  Its interesting that an MMA Payout reader posted back in August that Spike should have partnered with Glory instead of K-1.  We may see this occurring.

Spike TV and K-1 announce partnership for 2012-2013

August 20, 2012

Spike TV and K-1 announced a multi-platform partnership for 2012 and 2013.  The partnership begins September 8th with the K-1 World Grand Prix Championships from Los Angeles airing on Spike.com

Via Spike TV press release:

Spike.com’s 2012 coverage will include unprecedented access to K-1 events, from live streaming of the weigh-ins the day before the bouts, to locker room interviews, to live coverage of every fight on the card, including all the prelims. The four K-1 events in 2012 include:

September 8 – Los Angeles – U.S. Grand Prix Championship

October 14 – Tokyo, Japan – World Grand Prix Final

December 8 – Athens, Greece – MAX Final

December 26 – New York – World Grand Prix Final

The addition of K-1 to Spike TV’s lineup next year further establishes the network as the premier television destination for combat sports. Spike TV will debut Bellator Fighting Championships in January 2013 with a weekly live fight card featuring some of the best rising stars in the mixed martial arts world. K-1 is the largest kickboxing promotion in history. Since 1993, K-1 has presented professional live martial arts events in 38 countries, featuring the best and most accomplished athletes in the sport.

Payout Perspective:

With Bellator and TNA Wrestling, the addition of K-1 adds variety to Spike TV’s combat sports genre.  Spike definitely is providing content for its target demo of young males and it is not letting the end of its UFC library rights end its combat sports programming.  While it does not replace UFC programming (in terms of North America name branding and talent), it could spark some interest from combat sport fans.  The viewership of K-1 will depend on the quality of fights put on by the kickboxing organization. The online streaming has been a success with fans as many have adapted to Bellator airing its undercard on the site.  We will see how many check K-1 out this September.  On another note, I wonder how many fighters that tried out for K-1 will be on the LA card on September 8th?

K-1 announces open tryouts in LA

June 27, 2012

Kickboxing organization K-1 will be conducting open tryouts at Muscle Beach in Los Angeles, California on July 19, 2012 for events later this year.

Via K-1 press release:

K-1 is offering this unprecedented opportunity for K-1 hopefuls to fight in a 2012 event and the chance to compete for $2 Million in prize money. $1 million will be awarded to the 2012 K-1 Heavyweight Grand Prix winner along with $300,000 for second place, as well as $300,000 for the winner of the 2012 K-1 MAX tournament.

“K-1 would like to invite all talented stand-up fighters to come to Muscle Beach in LA on July 19 and show us what you have, and why you belong in the K-1 family,” said Doug Kaplan, Chief Executive Officer, K-1. “K-1 is the gold standard in stand-up fighting, and we are searching for the best new athletes out there to represent K-1 and possibly become one of kickboxing’s newest icons.”

Signing up for the K-1 Open Tryouts is easy – simply visit the K-1 FACEBOOK page at:http://www.facebook.com/K1GlobalTV.ENG. After registering, you will receive your confirmation via email.

Payout Perspective:

Make sure you sign a waiver before you tryout in July.  According to our friends at Liverkick, there will be a K-1 event in Los Angeles on September 8th.  While the card is not set for September it appears that some of the participants will be drawn from this open tryout.

The open tryout should boost its Facebook traffic as those K-1 hopefuls will need to visit the page to sign up.  It’s an interesting way to promote the organization and the upcoming event in LA.  There is a question as to the level of talent obtained from an open tryout but it should gain some media attention and with the backdrop of the beach, it would be a good photo/video op.

For those wondering about K-1’s parent company going bankrupt, the reports of its demise were incorrect.

Alistair Overeem leaves Golden Glory

September 23, 2011

MMA Fighting reports that Alistair Overeem has left the managing stable of Golden Glory. Overeem’s decision to leave was due to “a breach of trust.”

Via MMA Fighting:

With Overeem only stating that “a breach of trust” was the reason for his departure, details behind the split are up for speculation and many people may be quick to point the finger at the recent issues between Golden Glory and Zuffa.

Overeem’s former manager, Bas Boon, indicated that Overeem’s departure was not related to the recent Zuffa-Golden Glory squabble which saw Zuffa cut Overeem, his brother, Valentijn, and Marloes Coenen. In a press release, Boon cited the current state of the fight business (outside of Zuffa we presume) as the culprit as he cited the fact that Golden Glory fighters are owed money from FEG and K-1. Boon cited the fact that Overeem is fighting in the UFC this December as a sign that the Zuffa-Golden Glory relationship is not fractured. But it appears that the money owed Overeem from other fight organizations may be the reason for the split.

Payout Perspective:

Overeem’s departure is interesting considering it occurred after Golden Glory negotiated his contract for the Lesnar fight. This is another example of the tenuous business of fight management. We will see if Overeem decides to sign with another agent and, if so, whether the agent will make an effort to collect the past debt from the organizations.

HDNet to Televise FEG’s “Dynamite!! 2010” NYE Event Live

November 20, 2010

HDNet Fights CEO Andrew Simon that the Japanese MMA blockbuster NYE event, “Dynamite!! 2010” will air live in the U.S. on HDNet.

MMAJunkie and HDNet report:

HDNet Fights CEO Andrew Simon confirmed the plans with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com)… The event takes place Dec. 31 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

Currently, officials have announced only one fight for the card: a featherweight title bout and grand-prix-finale rematch between champion Bibiano Fernandes and Hiroyuki Takaya. However, as MMAjunkie.com recently reported, the show could feature an MMA-rules bout between DREAM champ Gegard Mousasi and K-1 kickboxing legend Jerome Le Banner, and many other notables are rumored for the show.

Payout Perspective:

HDNet subscribers will once again be treated to another NYE combat extravaganza as the network will continue to televise the Japanese end-of-the-year combat festivities this year.

FEG’s rival promotion, Sengoku Raiden Championship who also has a U.S. TV deal with HDNet, is also expected to host their own NYE event, “Soul of Fight” they day before FEG’s Dynamite event, which is part of a end-of-the-year martial-arts festival which will also host fights ranging from kickboxing, MMA, grappling, and other martial arts and combat disciplines. Arrangements to air the MMA portion of the event in some form on HDNet is currently in discussion.

K-1 World MAX GP 2010 Final Japan Ratings

November 11, 2010

FEG held this years K-1 World MAX GP 2010 Tournament Finale  in Tokyo, Japan, which aired on the Japanese network Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) on November 8th.

The event did a 7.6 rating on TBS, compared to the 10.7 rating it was able to pull for last year’s event. Though it is typical for MAX events to receive lower ratings than K-1 GP events, which features most of the company’s biggest stars, the number is still considered to be low and disappointing for FEG.

Though the quality of fights the MAX events typically provide, we have to take into account the absence of Japanese K-1 great Masato (who retired last year), which surely impacted the ratings for the night. Just a few weeks ago, FEG’s MMA promotion DREAM, was able to pull an 11.9 rating on TBS for the DREAM.16 event.

Payout Perspective:

The K-1 World MAX GP produced some of the best combat sport bouts all year, and its a shame that the ratings for the event weren’t better. FEG was well aware of a potential ratings disaster for the event without Japanese K-1 great Masato, forcing them to book Japanese Olympic gold medalist and go-to ratings grabber Satoshi Ishii, placing him against Japanese fan-favorite Katsuyori Shibata in a MMA bout.  The strategic move paid off for FEG, as the bout between Ishii and Shibata topped the event with a 12.1 peak rating.

As usual, FIELDS was the main sponsor for the event, but with ratings on the decline, FEG needs to put on some great shows for the remainder of the year to maintain a healthy and happy relationship with their sponsors and TV partners (TBS and Fuji TV).  FEG has two huge shows coming up, where Strikeforce HW Champion Alistair Overeem will be featured on the K-1 World GP 2010 Final event on December 11th.  The Japanese promotion will finish 2010 with a splash when they host their annual Dynamite!! NYE event on December 31st, which typically does great rating numbers for the company.

K-1 World GP 2010 Japan Ratings

October 5, 2010

FEG held this years K-1 World GP 2010 Final 16 in Seoul, Korea along with the World Max 2010 event, which took place the following day.  The event was aired on Japanese network station Fuji TV as part of FEG’s two-day event titled “Double Impact F 16″.

The event did a 10.0 rating on Fuji TV, compared to the 13.2 rating it was able to pull last year for the 2009 event.  That number has to be seen as disappointing, considering the great quality of fights the events produced during the two day stint in Korea.  The week before, FEG’s MMA promotion DREAM, was able to pull a 11.9 rating on TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System) for DREAM.16.

Payout Perspective:

For the time slot, K-1 World GP 2010 on Fuji TV finished in 4th place (in last place) behind shows televised on Nippon TV, TBS, and TV Asahi.  The event was also said to have less than usual attendance and a much cheaper price-per-ticket in Korea than what they typically charge in Japan. Dan Herbertson from MMAFighting stated that the cheapest ticket in Korea was worth around $15, while the same ticket in Japan would go for around $80.

The two day event produced some of the best combat sport bouts all year, and really brought a sense of optimism for the kickboxing scene after watching the events.  You can’t help but think that FEG is a bit disappointed with the rating and attendance numbers it garnered for the event, though we have to remember that they are missing K-1 favorites Remy Bonjasky and Badr Hari in this years event.  Remy Bonjasky vs Errol Zimmerman pulled in peak ratings for the 2009 event.

FEG Announces Partnership with PUJI Capital

July 19, 2010

Daniel Herbertson of MMA Fighting is reporting that FEG has reached an agreement with Chinese investment bank PUJI Capital that plans for PUJI to raise nearly $230 million in funds for the beleaguered organization’s newest international expansion plans.

Tanikawa stated that changes should start from 2011 and that Japanese events will continue with K-1 on Fuji TV and DREAM and K-1 MAX on TBS. PUJI will not be involved with the day to day operations regarding the actual promotions but will instead be in charge of fund raising and leading the global expansion and have forecast that they will gather 20 billion yen ($230 million).

Payout Perspective:

This is not an announcement of an immediate capital injection; FEG has not yet secured the $230 million in funding. PUJI Capital is forecasting that it will be able to raise $230 million for FEG, but that is anything but a foregone conclusion.

Normally, you don’t make an announcement like this unless you’re sure you can get the money, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this announcement is more of a PR stunt than anything else. The news has been well-received by the entire MMA community – many of whom long for the “glory” days of Pride and more competition in a landscape dominated by the UFC – and FEG is definitely looking to generate some renewed interest in its fight brands to help it raise new money.

However, FEG has yet to prove that it can manage its assets with any sort of fiscal responsibility. I’m skeptical that PUJI can raise $230 million in the first place, but further question the notion that more money, and an ambitious international expansion plan, is going to solve FEG’s current problems.

If FEG does manage to raise significant funds, it should focus on its home market, first: establishing a strong foundation in Japan with a solid fan base and predictable revenue streams. Yet, rebuilding Japanese MMA is also a tall order. Many believe that much of the success MMA has had in the country is linked to professional wrestling (cross-over and freak show fights were the real draws on many nights); with pro wrestling on the decline, it may be difficult to bring MMA back to where it once was.

If, and only if, FEG can establish a strong fan base, with a solid fight product and firm financial footing, can it look to expand beyond Japan and into other markets. The Asian-Pacific is the most logical destination (Korea, China, Australia); likewise, South America (Brazil) remains relatively untapped. But I’m not sure how much success they, or anyone else, will have in Africa at this point.

This is definitely something to keep an eye on. The MMA fan in me wants to get excited, but FEG and Dream/K-1 still have a long way to go.

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