K-1 Responds To Fighter Pay Allegations

This week, the big news in the kickboxing world has been entirely focused on the It's Showtime and Glory World Series deal that brings those two major organizations together. One of the immediate questions in this deal was why was K-1 left out in the cold? As we reported, It's Showtime founder Simon Rutz addressed these issues, claiming that his fighters were not paid for taking part in the K-1 Madrid show in May, and that K-1 had not fulfilled all their obligations to It's Showtime as a promotional partner.

Now, K-1 has responded to those claims. They admit that It's Showtime's fighters have not been paid, but state that the rest of the fighters have been. They also put the blame for these issues squarely on the shoulders of Rutz, who they argue has not provided them with proper payment info. You can read the complete official statement from K-1 Global President Michael Kim in the full article.

We have reached out to Rutz and It's Showtime for comment.

Of note in this debate is a statement from Japanese fighter Yasuhiro Kido made earlier this week. Kido fought on the Madrid event and stated on Twitter that he was in fact paid. He is not affiliated with It's Showtime, which supports K-1's side of the story.

While we will continue to work to get comment on this issue, at this point, things are probably just going to come down to a back and forth game of accusations. And that's a shame as it would be nice to see these kickboxing organizations able to work together more cohesively and move beyond these kinds of issues that caused turmoil in the past.

For the new K-1 Global, this is an unfortunate situation to have to deal with. While they are a totally new company with no ties to the old FEG-owned K-1, they are working with a brand that is steeped in both rich history and questionable business practices, particularly in the area of fighter pay. For this issue to already be coming up will leave a bad taste in the mouths of those who were burned by the old K-1. Though again, it has to be said that this is a completely different company who should not be judged on the faults of the old K-1.

Details On Glory And It's Showtime Merger, K-1 Financial Troubles

One thing K-1 Global is doing very well in this situation is being open and public. FEG was always secretive about their business side, which led to a lot of distrust. It's a positive sign to see Kim making this public statement, while at the same time K-1 Global CEO Doug Kaplan is actively answering fan questions on the company's Facebook page. They are looking to rebuild faith in the K-1 brand, and recognize that this faith comes from being honest with fans, which I appreciate.

K-1 Global has a tough road ahead of them in rebuilding the brand, but they also have a world of opportunity. Glory has a lot going for it, but there's something about the history of the name K-1 that matters, and as this new company expands, we could see great things from them. Let's hope they can put this bump in the road behind them, sort out the pay issues, and move forward to provide quality kickboxing action around the world.

Statement from K-1 Global President Michael Kim:

I would like to set the facts straight regarding the business practices of the K-1 organization.

First, regarding payment to the athletes who participated in the K-1 Rising Spain event on May 26, 2012, almost all the money for the fighters who participated in the event has been paid. A few did not get paid because the person who introduced these fighters to us, Simon Rutz, has yet to provide us their payment details and that has prevented us from wiring them their money. We have asked Mr. Rutz for the information on numerous occasions and continue to do so and we intended to pay them as soon as we are able to obtain the information.

Second, regarding the payments to the promoters in Spain:

We paid advance monies to the promoters for the event. After the event ended, we awaited the receipts and worked on reconciling the expenses. The period of reconciliation took an acceptable amount of time. Both parties agreed in writing on payment amounts and payment methodology on June 28, 2012.

Third, Mr. Simon Rutz signed a service agreement with K-1 Global and was paid a contract fee in February of this year. Despite having this agreement in place, K-1 was not provided its obligatory legal advance notice of his intent to partner or contract with a competitive organization.

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