The future of K1 seems bleak. The open letter can be found here.
This is K-1's event producer Sadaharu Tanikawa. I have not made an official announcement about K-1's situation for a while. But I think it is time to explain things to you.
First of all, "FEG" was established as a parent company of K-1 to solve the situation after K-1's founder Mr. Ishii's tax evasion scandal. After the tax problem, Japanese TV stations like FUJI TV, NIHON TV and TBS showed us a will to stop broadcasting of K-1's program. Also many sponsors were going to withdraw from deal with K-1. But somehow we managed to come through it by establishing new company FEG and managed to be K-1 alive.
I had supported Mr. Ishii as one of the brains even before K-1 started in 1993. So I really didn't want to leave K-1 ruined and I wanted to protect Mr. Ishii. That's the reason I took the post as K-1 event producer. Then we worked hard to pay the tax penalty of Mr. Ishii, which was even nearly 2 billion dollars. We had to deal with the tax problem and keep holding high quality events at the same time through the years. What was worth, business of Japanese TV industry started in decline. Then we finally ended up being stuck in economical difficulty. And we were not able to solve the problem by a loan from any banks as Mr. Ishii had evaded tax before.
It is true that we have the problem of outstanding money. I sincerely would like to apologize and I'm responsible for it. Several years ago, I started looking for people who will to become a K-1's new owner, because we needed to solve the outstanding problem. I explained it to Mr. Ishii and got it across to him, then spent a hectic time to find investors. Many investors actually took an interest in k-1's business such as Chinese PUJI, Malaysian sports agency TSA, Korean investor Mr. Kim, A casino of Macao, Japanese funds and so on. But the fact is, Mr. Ishii never signed any offers from them. And I couldn't do anything about it because K-1's owner was Mr. Ishii. He was a rights holder. Me and FEG's staffs did our best to keep holding events and introducing investors to Mr. Ishii for years but nothing ever changed because of the reason and the situation got even worse during the years. Then finally, we couldn't even hold K-1 WGP in 2011.
This year, company called EMCOM established K-1 GLOBAL and took over the K-1 rights from Mr. Ishii. EMCOM's president Mr. Kim is a Korean investor. I met him 2 years ago in Korea then introduced him to Mr. Ishii. Mr. Bas Boon from Golden Glory also tried to buy K-1 but Mr. Kim acquired the right at the end.
K-1 Global will start operating K-1 events from now on. Already as announced, They will hold their first K-1 event in Spain in the upcoming May. I wish new K-1 best wishes but it seems that some obstacles existing before them. For example Mr. Bas Boon, who was trying to be a president of K-1 but couldn't, has been upset and now trying to wrest some fighters from K-1. In fact, fighters like Giorgio Petrosyan, Peter Aerts and Jerome Le Banner have already signed them for their event Glory World series. Mr. Boon looks he's attempting to ruin new K-1. On the other hand, Mr. Simon Rutz from It's showtime has stated that he would support new K-1. You should know that there always have been a rivalry between Mr. Boon and Mr. Rutz. This uneasy relationship could split up kick boxing world. What I'm worried about is lose-lose end for them. I'm hoping they will get along and cooperate for this sports though.
I have resigned from the post of K-1's event producer. And I'm not a person from EMCOM. So I basically have nothing to do with K-1 now. I have heard that K-1's pro- division will be handled by Mr. Kim, and amateur-division will be by Mr. Ishii. K-1 Global have started clearing the outstanding money of K-1, such as fight money. FEG is still responsible for some debt too. I promise I'll make it up for them.
I think we need to create another combat sports organization now. People around me have already been working on a plan of new organization. I will surely help create the new one for the future of combat sports world. I will work on the new project and then after some achievements made, I will hand it down to the next generation.
Before closing this message, I must express my gratitude to people of DREAM. As you know, they are former production team of PRIDE. I have worked with them closely for long. They are real creative people of this industry. I really appreciate their diligence.
Lastly I would like to thank to all the fans who have always supported me. This is my farewell from K-1 but I'll still keep on working for you and all the combat sports fans in the world. Domo arigato gozaimashita.
Former K-1 event producer