This is a huge deal IMO. At least if Pride does go down the UFC will have a significant competitor to keep the fighter's pay going up. I think they will need a lot more high profile fight's than this to sell out the coliseum though. Bodog's show with Fedor Lindland is on April 14th. I hope they pull in Fedor/Lindland/ ALek's and any other high profile free agents for this show. They would do well to grab anybody free from the UFC for this show to launch their US presence also.
- K-1 HERO'S AMERICAN DEBUT TAKING SHAPE
Monday, March 19, 2007 - by Ken Pishna - MMAWeekly.com
Just as Pride FC’s run at the American mixed martial arts market has stalled out, another Japanese promoter is taking aim at audiences in the United States. For some time now, officials at K-1 have been hinting at their Hero’s debut in America (Hero’s is the MMA arm of K-1) and recently, their plans have established a foundation.
According to K-1’s Mr. Tanigawa, K-1 HERO'S will be holding a press conference in the U.S. at the end of March where they will reveal their "plan and strategy." Stated Mr. Tanigawa, "It's going to be a really interesting press conference that will have a lot of content to convey to you, something that will surprise Dana White as well."
Although the press conference will no doubt shed more light on the exact plans that K-1 has in mind for the U.S., sources are coming forth with some of the details for the Hero’s debut in America.
K-1 is planning a Hero’s show for June 2nd in America, most likely at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. The L.A Coliseum would be a rather bold move. The seating capacity for the L.A. Coliseum, according to their website, is 92,000. The current largest live audience to ever attend an MMA event in the U.S. is 19,079, which was set just recently by the Ultimate Fighting Championship in Columbus, Ohio.
Matches such as Hideo Tokoro vs. Kazuya Yasuhiro, Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Kazushi Sakuraba, and Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Melvin Manhoef have headlined recent K-1 MMA events; not exactly match-ups that promise to grab the attention of the masses in the U.S. But according to K-1’s Mr. Maeda, “In the case of America, we have some fighters who have what you call star quality already on standby. They are ready and prepared to go into the ring." Maeda also feels that they have "a world network capacity" that will help them succeed in the U.S.
It appears that Brock Lesnar, a former World Wrestling Entertainment professional wrestling champion and talent acknowledged to have caught the attention of UFC president Dana White, is one of the “star quality” fighters that K-1 has in mind for their Hero’s debut in America. He is on tap to face Hong Man Choi, the 7-foot 2-inch goliath from South Korea. Lesnar is sure to draw some attention when he makes his MMA debut against Choi, but it’s not likely the type of match that will put K-1 over in the U.S.
A more intriguing name that has surfaced, one that has much more drawing power when it comes to mixed martial arts in the U.S., is that of Royce Gracie. Sources have verified that Royce is indeed planned for the June 2nd Hero’s show in the U.S. A statement he seemed to confirm himself in a recent interview with MMAWeekly’s Scott Petersen. In the interview, Gracie stated that he does have an MMA fight coming up “for K-1, but not confirmed yet where the location [will be], maybe Las Vegas, maybe L.A.” And he did state that it would be under the Hero’s banner.
One of the more interesting bits of information about K-1 Hero’s coming to the U.S. is that it appears they will be doing so as part of an association with the ProElite/Showtime partnership that produces EliteXC. Although details of the association aren’t concrete, it appears that initial plans call for a combined event with a portion of it televised on Showtime’s premium channel (presumably promoted by EliteXC) followed by a broadcast on Showtime Pay-Per-View (promoted by Hero’s).
Such an association makes perfect sense for both EliteXC and Hero’s. EliteXC has the established muscle of Showtime behind them and Hero’s has, as Mr. Maeda said, K-1’s "world network capacity" to bring in some of the top fighters in the world. Now, it’s just a matter of ironing out the details, putting the plan in action and seeing if it yields the desired result.
It has been stated time and again recently that these are interesting times in the flourishing world of mixed martial arts in the United States. The addition of K-1 Hero’s to the mix is sure to up the intrigue factor considerably.
So the Lesnar fight is gonna be on this card with him faceing Ma Choi. Thats gonna be a bombshell. Lesnar has a large fan base in American already. If they were gonna put Royce on a K1 show it should be the 1st one as well.
Put Japanese fighters dont seem to as much sway with the fans as American fighters do. Its the same in Japan thouhg. Japanese fighters are liked much more than forgien fighters. Patriotism runs strong today in many countries.
For Pay. K1 salaries have never been offically released. But they are very fricking high from what i understand. I remember seeing something that fighters only got like 5-10k for a fight, but taht was one time and rumours are that fighters can get up to several million for 1 fight. At least hte big name stars like sakuraba and Genki Sudo.
Heroes is defintly a big force to recokn with. They contorl the Japanese MMA scene. No matter what anyone says, They have more fans acros the pond than Pride does. Not to mention that it would be hard for Heroes to get in trouble when it always has K1 backing it. K1 is huge there.
If you doubt the success of Heroes, watch a entrance by Genki Sudo in that organization. It is utter and complete madness.
I do think it is a very bold move to have a arean that seats 90 000 people for their first American show. It would seem to be prudent and have a normal size arena for a first show. Considering they might not be as well known has they think. They will have to put their biggest and best names into this show to fill that stadium. Including : Royce, Brock, Choi, Caol uno, Genki Sudo (if possible), and Kid Yamamoto (if he is back).
K-1 is well known. Brock Lesnar is well known. Hero's might not be but that doesn't matter with K-1. Royce Gracie is a big draw, and if they can get Cung Le in there too they'd have a good shot at selling out.
good k1 needs to expand more into the usa