Image via K-1.
K-1 has announced a new online initiative to attract new fighters to the longstanding kickboxing organization. Hidden Treasures is an online program where K-1 invites up and coming fighters to visit K-1 on Facebook and post information and videos of themselves. After that, "K-1's personnel managers will find you!" according to their site
The company is spinning this as a way to use social media and to discover new worldwide talent, and while there is some truth there, the reality is that this move also demonstrates how far K-1 has fallen. The fact is, there are many great, worldwide kickboxing talents out there, and those men are known to K-1. However, reports from the past year indicate that K-1 is likely no longer in a position to pay these fighters. K-1 now looks to turn towards less experienced names who can likely be brought in at a lower cost. That said, there are some good international names already listed on the Hidden Treasures pages, particularly at 70kg.
In somewhat related news, longtime K-1 veteran Jerome Le Banner told French website ikusa.fr that he is done with K-1 due to frustrations over the way the company is being run, and the fact that he has still not been paid for his December 31 fight with Satoshi Ishii. Although he was at the end of his career, the loss of Le Banner is a serious moral blow to K-1, as JLB, along with Peter Aerts and Ray Sefo, represent the true old guard of K-1, with Le Banner having competed with the company for over 15 years.