According to a report from Fighters Only, K-1 is rescinding their plans for events in the USA in 2012. Instead, it will focus on domestic Japanese and south-east Asian markets rather than penetrate the states. How come? Here is the story from FO:
The reason is the weekend’s buyout of Its Showtime by the GLORY organization, set up as a rival to K-1 in the premier league kickboxing sphere. K-1’s financial troubles over the past couple of years led to it being bought out by a Japanese-Korean investor named Michael Kim at the start of this year.
A partnership with Its Showtime – the premiere European kickboxing promotion – was reached that allowed for talent-sharing and for K-1 branded events to take place in Europe, with Its Showtime and other local promoters bearing the brunt of the costs.
Shortly after the partnership started, wild allegations of payment failures and shady deals flew between the companies. It is quite clear that neither will be working together now, especially in light of the merger between It’s Showtime and Glory World Series that consolidated the two largest kickboxing promotions in the western world. Furthermore, thanks to the K-1 partnership, most of the top kickboxing talent is now contracted to Its Showtime, excluding Badr Hari and Mirko Crocop (at least, that is the current thought on those two).
K-1 will still hold an open tryout in California, so we have that at least. But, seeing Crocop at MSG, not so much. The company is also expected to hold a heavyweight grand prix later this year in Japan.