K-1′s new owner “doesn’t get the fight game”

Here’s another update in our chronicle of the decay of Zombie K-1. A few weeks ago we posted about the under-the-radar cancellation of K-1′s Arnold Classic Expo. Now the people left holding the bag on all that are dishing dirt on what happened:

Bernie Profato, president of Ohio Athletic Commission, however, said K-1 pulled out because they didn’t have the money to follow through with the event.

“They pulled out because of finances,” Profato said. ” They didn’t have the finances set up from the K-1 backers. They got in here and realized they didn’t have the money to cover the expenses for the rooms and I guess the travel and stuff.”

Profato said Trapani did his part, but it was K-1 who pulled the plug at the last minute.

“The promoter did his due diligence,” Profato said. “Russ Trapani – he had the bonds, he had everything set to go. We had the bout sheet ready to go. Everything was a go and, all of a sudden, it fell through. It was the expenses that curtailed everything.”

Trapani was recruited by K-1′s new owner Michael Kim, a Hong Kong businessman, who Trapani says absolutely “doesn’t get the fight game.” He said Oh, whom he likes as an individual, doesn’t understand the fight game either.

Seven weeks after the group agreed to a deal in early January, though, K-1 was finally able to deliver a $20,000 deposit check to expo promoters and the event once again seemed to be a go. The fights were supposed to take place in the expo’s main hall, a site with high foot traffic.

Everything went sour from there, though, Trapani said. Kim nixed many of Trapani’s ideas and refused to make decisions on other production matters, such as sound and lighting.

“They have major funding problems,” Trapani said.

As for why K-1 is so strapped for cash, Liverkick has insider info:

The rumored reason has been that the money which was supposed to cover costs for the K-1 Ohio event was used as an upfront payment to Badr Hari to secure his services for the K-1 World Grand Prix Finals. It was supposedly hand-delivered to Badr Hari in cash and has put a serious financial strain on the company.

That explains Ohio, but what about New York? That show also fell through. And how does this bode for future K-1 events? Just two weeks ago the promoters released their 2013 schedule featuring 15 events with locations like London, Moscow, Abu Dhabi, and New York. Second time’s a charm? Or just more proof that the promotion has more ambition than sense?

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