K-1 Parent Company FEG Declares Bankruptcy in Tokyo Court

By Tony Loiseleur May 16, 2012
TOKYO -- Long-beleaguered combat sports giant Fighting and Entertainment Group (FEG) has officially declared bankruptcy, according to a report by private credit research firm Teikoku Databank.

First published Wednesday by Yahoo.co.jp, the Databank report claims that FEG began the process of declaring bankruptcy on May 7 in Tokyo District Court. No figures indicating the extent of FEG’s debts were revealed.

Sherdog.com has reached out to FEG representatives for an official statement; however, there has been no response as of publication time. FEG’s former partner in promoting Dream events, Real Entertainment, offered no official comment, but reiterated to Sherdog.com that they are in the process of scheduling Dream’s next show.

Founded in September 2003, FEG is best known as the parent company of the world’s largest kickboxing promotion, K-1, as well as K-1’s short-lived MMA series, Hero’s. Though K-1’s brand rights were transferred to Japanese real estate firm Barbizon, Inc. in January 2006, FEG continued to promote the event under their banner. After the purchase and closure of Pride Fighting Championships by Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta in 2007, FEG partnered with former Pride production staff in the form of Real Entertainment to produce the Dream series.

Due to waning popular interest and declining television ratings, K-1 and Dream programming was dropped from Japanese network television in 2011. In an attempt to rally fan support and attract corporate sponsorship, FEG announced in July 2010 a $230 million dollar partnership with Shanghai-based investment bank Puji Capital. However, allegations of non-payment by FEG-contracted fighters such as Gary Goodridge and former Dream featherweight champion Bibiano Fernandes in late 2010 and early 2011 cast doubt upon the deal.

November 2011 saw the creation of the Federation International K-1 Association (FIKA), an attempt to restructure the promotion which later gave way to the March 2012 announcement of K-1 Global Holdings, a Hong Kong-based company spearheading a renewed effort to promote the kickboxing event internationally. Despite these efforts, K-1 had scheduled only one event in the 2012 calendar year, a May 27 card to be held in Madrid, Spain; the fate of that event remains unclear given the company’s financial situation and the April resignation of FEG President and Event Producer Sadaharu Tanikawa.

Go Yamamoto contributed to this report.

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