There’s no doubt that K1’s first American show was about as close to a total disaster as it could have been without being cancelled outright. While Japanese tv money probably kept it out of the black, K1 will have a hard time convincing MMA fans in America to throw a dime their way any time soon.
But dispite the fact that Japan has been stripped of it’s title as the fight mecca of the world, there’s still a ton of money and opportunity there for K1 to take advantage of. With PRIDE gone and over half it’s Japanese fighters cut loose, this is the perfect time for K1’s MMA branch HERO’s to get it’s shit together and fill the void.
Of course, it’s a huge question mark as to if HERO’s can do this. For a company that’s been around for two and a half years, they haven’t been able to get much going. That’s dispite having K1’s financial backing and tons of star power on their roster. Even by Japanese standards, their fight booking is completely inconsistant and nonsensical. They put way too much importance on tournaments, and no importance on title belts.
All in all, there’s a huge opportunity for HERO’s right now. PRIDE is gone. The UFC certainly isn’t looking like they’re about to magically appear in Japan. While I don’t expect HERO’s to magically step up to the plate and compete with the UFC on a global level, I don’t see why they can’t sort their shit out enough to fill the void for mixed martial arts in Japan. At the moment they’re just phoning it in and collecting paychecks from Japanese TV stations. Let’s hope they take it to the next level soon.