It’s Showtime President Simon Rutz: “FEG is Technically Bankrupt”, K-1 GP Cancelled
By FCF Staff
After months of speculation as to what the future holds for K-1 and its parent company FEG, one of kickboxing’s executives is reporting that both the K-1 Final Elimination and K-1 World Grand Prix Final have been cancelled this year due to the company’s financial woes.
“It’s Showtime” President Simon Rutz, who despite overseeing one of K-1’s competitors publicly supports the cross promotional use of fighters, posted a statement on his company’s official website relaying that:
“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.”
Rutz went onto say that FEG President Mr. Sadaharu Tanikawa “has found a Korean investor who has big plans with the K-1 label” but that the deal has not yet been finalized by K-1 founder Kazuyoshi Ishii.
Barbizon is a Japanese real estate firm that reportedly purchased many of K-1’s trademarks earlier this year.
The other potential investor, according to Rutz, has been recruited by Golden Glory manager Bas Boon. Rutz added that Boon has reportedly “found an American company which also has big opportunities to bring the K-1 brand to high levels. However, also this company needs the signature of Mr. Ishii.”
The statement also cites a third potential investor that has recently entered into the picture, however, Rutz offered no other details regarding the party.
“All investors understand that a good cooperation with IT’S SHOWTIME is essential to prevent future conflicts of interest and to make sure that in the future all world elite fighters will participate to the tournaments; that means the fighters of both IT’S SHOWTIME as the ones of Golden Glory,” Rutz added in the statement. “We from IT’S SHOWTIME support the plans to make the K-1 label a strong brand again, because this is in the best interest of the sport, the fighters and the millions of fans around the world.”
Attempts by FCF to contact Rutz and It’s Showtime were not immediately returned.
While FEG has yet to make any official announcement regarding the status of this year’s K-1 Grand Prix, several fighters and managers have gone on record over the preceding months revealing that they or their clients have not been fully compensated by FEG for previous bouts.
Rutz also offered a summary as to why the October 29th event has allegedly been cancelled:
“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”
It remains to be seen whether FEG’s status will impact the annual, New Year’s Eve, “K-1 Dynamite” event, which in recent years has included MMA bouts that have been promoted under the DREAM banner.
The semi-finals and finals of DREAM’s ongoing bantamweight grand-prix are reportedly scheduled for December 31st.
Photo credit: Ben Pontier