For the past few weeks, the rumor mill in the kickboxing world has been all focused on K-1. Fighters began to talk about being contacted for a K-1 event this spring, and all signs pointed towards the organization finally returning. Now, K-1 has finally broken their lengthy silence, and they've done so in a huge way.
Last week, the kickboxing company announced that they would indeed be staging a full slate of events in 2012. Starting on May 27 in Madrid, Spain, K-1 will be hosting at least seven international events in 2012. Those seven events will include the return of the K-1 and K-1 MAX Grand Prix. And that alone is huge news, but here's the really interesting part.
The 2012 K-1 Grand Prix will take place in December, in New York City.
This is a major move for the organization, which has always been heavily reliant on the Japanese market. But with the K-1 brand under new management, there is clearly a desire to try some new things. Taking the company's crown jewel event out of Japan and moving it to the mostly untested US market is a big gamble. But if it pays off, it will open the doors to the thriving US combat sports scene at a time that the scene in Japan is at an all time low.
Of course, it has to be said that we have heard stories like this before, including plans for a 2011 Grand Prix that never happened. So while I am extremely excited about the promise of a 2012 K-1 Grand Prix, and in the US at that, this news needs to be read with a bit of hesitation. But things do look promising. Top European organization It's Showtime has thrown their hat in with K-1, giving them access to many of the world's top fighters. Big names like Daniel Ghita have spoken openly about being in talks with K-1. And the venue in Madrid already has the show listed for May 27. All of these are great signs.
So for now, I'm going to be optimistic. K-1 is back, and it's in the US. Now let's see what happens next.
Full announced schedule, in the complete article.
From the new K-1 website:
WHERE AND WHEN:
Seven major, worldwide K-1 heavyweight (K-1 World GP) and K-1 middleweight (K-1 World MAX) events are planned for 2012, where the world's top warriors will battle in a survival series of explosive, three-round, single-elimination fights.
• May 27th - K-1 officially rises with a spectacular K-1 Tournament and Celebration at the Palacio Vista Aletre in Madrid, Spain, as we begin the search for the world's best fighters.
• June-October - Tournaments span the globe with events in the US, Europe and Asia.
• Early September - US Regional Tournament takes place in Los Angeles.
• Later October - The K-1 World GP Final16 takes place in Asia.
• November - The K-1 World MAX Final takes place in Asia, with a $300,000 Grand Prize (total prize money for MAX: $500,000).
• December - The K-1 World GP Final in New York City, with a ONE MILLION DOLLAR grand prize (total prize money for WGP: $1,500,000).