Ishii-Shibata Peaks as K-1 Max Ratings Bottom Out

By Chris Nelson Nov 11, 2010
Satoshi Ishii: Taro Irei |

The television woes of Dream and K-1 parent company Fighting and Entertainment Group continued this week as the promotion announced all-time low ratings for its latest K-1 Max event.

The Tokyo Broadcasting System’s two-hour airing of the K-1 World Max 2010 Final on Nov. 8 drew an average rating of 7.6, with a quarterly peak of 12.1 for the MMA bout between Satoshi Ishii and Katsuyori Shibata, FEG president Sadaharu Tanikawa disclosed at a Tuesday press conference in Tokyo. The tape-delayed and heavily edited broadcast on TBS began at 9:00 p.m. local time in Japan.

The final eight competitors in the 154-pound tournament included two Japanese fighters -- Yoshihiro Sato and Yuichiro “Jienotsu” Nagashima -- though the title was ultimately claimed for the second straight year by Armenian Italian phenom Giorgio Petrosyan.

The ratings represent a significant decrease from TBS’ broadcast of the 2009 Max Final, which pulled a 10.7 average, reaffirming a waning interest in FEG’s kickboxing product amongst the Japanese populace.

The 2008 Olympic judo gold medalist’s placement on the show was construed as an attempted ratings grab by TBS and FEG. As the sole MMA contest on an otherwise all-kickboxing card, the Ishii-Shibata match drew ridicule from K-1 Max fighters and fans alike. However, the statistics show that FEG and TBS were onto something when they added the 23-year-old heavyweight to the card. Ishii also garnered the highest rating of the night when he took on Ikuhisa Minowa at Dream 16, a fight which drew an 18.1 peak over an 11.9 average.

Dream’s ratings superseding those of K-1 also makes sense of the planned shake-up at FEG’s annual New Year’s Eve “Dynamite” card, also broadcast on TBS. Generally an equitable mix of K-1 and MMA rules bouts, Tanikawa revealed at a Nov. 4 press conference that the bulk of this year’s 12- or 13-bout card would be devoted to MMA. With Ishii’s participation is still up in the air following a terse post-fight speech at Max, the judoka appears poised to help “Dynamite 2010” either sink or swim.
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