K-1 Grand Prix To Return In 2012 According To It's Showtime

It's Showtime Heavyweight champion Daniel Ghita - the 2012 K-1 Grand Prix champion? Maybe... Photo via Its Showtime

Big news coming from the kickboxing world today courtesy of It's Showtime. The European organization announced today that they had signed a deal with the new K-1 organization. They also revealed some very exciting details about K-1's plans for 2012:

K-1 will organize 4 big events already this year, including the final 16 and final 8 in the 70kg and heavyweight division. The bonuses the fighters can win will be astronomically high, but we leave it up to the company of K-1 Global to announce these amounts. We will also leave it up to them to announce the event schedule, but three weeks from now everything will be announced.

So, it looks like after a mostly silent 2011, we may indeed see the return of the K-1 Grand Prix in 2012, both at the Heavyweight and 70kg MAX level. As any kickboxing fan will tell you, the idea of the GP returning is simply fantastic news.

Before going any further it has to be said that we've heard this before. Since the end of 2010 there have been multiple K-1 shows planned and cancelled, some involving It's Showtime. But as someone who's been following this story over the past year, I have to say this feels different, for a few reasons:

  • It's Showtime names the owner of the new K-1: Mike Kim, who is running an organization called K-1 Global based out of Hong Kong. There has long been confusion over who owns K-1, and this is a good step.
  • According to It's Showtime, K-1 Global paid their fighters 50% of the money owed to them under old FEG K-1 contracts. This lack of fighter pay has been a major stumbling block in past negotiations, and for K-1 Global to pay it is a huge step forward.
  • This information is not coming from K-1, but from It's Showtime, who, in addition to promoting shows, manages a number of fighters. It's Showtime has tended to be quite open and honest in the past about their relationship with K-1 - if this deal falls through, It's Showtime will speak up.

The release goes on to name the It's Showtime fighters who have signed with K-1, and it's quite the collection of talent: Daniel Ghita, Tyrone Spong, Hesdy Gerges, Paul Slowinski, Rico Verhoeven, Anderson ‘Braddock' Silva, Ben Edwards, Melvin Manhoef, Sergii Lashchenko, Mourad Bouzidi, Dzevad Poturak, Chahid Oulad El Hadj, Gago Drago and Andy Ristie. They are also still negotiating contracts for Ruslan Karaev, Harut Grigorian, Chris Ngimbi, and more.

Finally, they mention that K-1 has signed other names, but as those others are not represented by It's Showtime, they are not named just yet. One likely candidate here is former MAX champion Andy Souwer, who recently cancelled a May 19 fight, citing a conflict with a new K-1 contract.

So while I may hold off on definitively saying "K-1 is back!" until the first show actually happens, I will say that this is the most positive news we have heard in over a year. So for now, a tentative "Welcome back K-1 Grand Prix - we missed you."

Read the full press release in the complete article.

PRESS RELEASE: IT'S SHOWTIME closes deal with new K-1 organization.

With immediate effect, IT'S SHOWTIME closed a multi-year deal with the new owner of the K-1 label, Mr. Mike Kim. The company of Mr. Kim is called K-1 Global and is established in Hong Kong.

Even though this new company didn't have any obligations towards our company and our fighters, K-1 Global has paid all of our fighters this week. This means that every fighter received a signing bonus which consists of 50% of the money that was still owed to them by the old company FEG.

K-1 will organize 4 big events already this year, including the final 16 and final 8 in the 70kg and heavyweight division. The bonuses the fighters can win will be astronomically high, but we leave it up to the company of K-1 Global to announce these amounts. We will also leave it up to them to announce the event schedule, but three weeks from now everything will be announced.

The following fighters have already signed a contract with K-1 on behalf of IT'S SHOWTIME: Daniel Ghita, Tyrone Spong, Hesdy Gerges, Paul Slowinski, Rico Verhoeven, Anderson ‘Braddock' Silva, Ben Edwards, Melvin Manhoef, Sergii Lashchenko, Mourad Bouzidi, Dzevad Poturak, Chahid Oulad El Hadj, Gago Drago and Andy Ristie.

Contracts which are ready to be signed with K-1 this week: Ruslan Karaev, Harut Grigorian, Chris Ngimbi, etc.

There have been several contracts signed with other big names in kickboxing, but these are not under contract with IT'S SHOWTIME, so we wait for K-1 Global to announce these names.

We are very happy with these positive developments in our sport and for all fighters in the world who now get the possibilities to show their talent in K-1.

Simon Rutz
IT'S SHOWTIME

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