MONDAY, June 28th
IKF Puts It's Foot DOWN HARD "FOR" Fighters & Promoters!
By IKF President Steve Fossum
It seems too many "SANCTIONING BODIES" want to "PROTECT" their promoters when it comes to certain actions they SHOULD take when a Promoter lets a fighter down and cancels his/her show only weeks prior and sometimes only a few days prior to the scheduled event. Regardless, the fighter probably turned down other fight opportunities he/she could have had, had they not committed themselves to the promoter who cancelled on them. In turn, the fighter loses out on MANY OPPORTUNITIES and the promoter who cancelled on them for whatever reason, many times, has no obligation for their lost purse.
In addition, it seems often enough as well that some fighters pull out of events at the last minute without a VALID medical reason or family emergency excuse which obviously disrupts a promoters event. From the loss of the fighter, the promoter is either forced to scramble and find another fighter at additional expense or take a big loss on the lost bout. Either way, the promoter PAYS BIG, and the fighter who pulled out, for whatever reason, has no obligation for the lost expenses.
Promoters need to realize how much work and preparation such as work schedule changes, family matters etc. a fighter goes through before a fight. Too many fighters are at the mercy of promoters as they "WAIT" for that next fight opportunity sometimes taking ANY fight just to keep active. It seems "ALL" the kickboxers in the world are left out there alone with NO LEGAL Representation when it comes to dealing with matchmakers and promoters. At todays fighters wages, paying a trainer, let alone a manager or an attorney to look after their business matters is a BIG portion of their small paydays and MANY, over 80% of all pro fighters go unrepresented today.
In addition, while most people understand promoters depend on fighters and visa versa, a subtle yet important fact often missed is that fighters must depend upon each other to live up to their commitments. Because if a particular fighter fails to show up, drop out, not make weight, injured etc. without a valid excuse or advanced notice, his or her opponent is left in the same position as if the event had been cancelled as well. This has been particular true with amateur events. In addition, worse yet is when 1 fighter shows up and a promoter says he is not obligated to pay for his/her purse (If Pro) travel, etc. when the other opponent doesn't show up or make weight etc. This way, it is clear that fighters must adapt a "GOLDEN RULE" approach when considering their commitments to compete and how their actions and inactions may effect not only their personal careers and the promoter, but also their opponents and the sport at large.
In addition, Fighters need to realize How much work goes into promoting an event. If you've NEVER promoted before, you have NO IDEA what stress promoting can be. It's time consuming, expensive and creates Stress and Pressure you can't imagine. It takes a promoter several events before they know the right formula to make things run smooth. In addition, if you don't have a GREAT Promotional Team to support you, the problems are just that much bigger.
As the IKF, we have taken care of damage control at "MANY" IKF events, big and small where the promoters THOUGHT they had everything under control but eventually realized they forgot many important aspects. Things like a Doctor at Ringside or even a Timekeeper. Thus was the situation at the big May 14th PPV event when the person who showed up with the timekeeper had brought someone who NEVER did it before. Special thanks to IKF Representative and GREAT Timekeeper, Maria Hess of Virginia, USA who stepped in and did a great job throughout the entire event. In addition, the IKF had to re-adjust and re-tighten the ring ropes, coordinate glove runners, dressing rooms, ring entreeway and many other aspects of the promotion such as getting someone to get ice for the fighters. All things that the promoters simply forgot to do themselves. We were SO BUSY running around at that event that we felt like WE were the promoters. But we do that at EVERY IKF event, so the show will be GREAT! Many Organization don't even take on the responsibilities we do to assist at an event. How do we know this? We've watched them. We do know that the PKC steps up and helps since we have witnessed this when working with them. We know... It's nothing new though. The IKF has taken many small or first time promoters and with a little organization and experience, made them top class promoters. All had some BIG problems when they first started promoting. They may have seemed like small problems but they were things that could have kept the show from going on. But the IKF, as always, stepped in and took over organizing certain aspects of the events. It's surprising how many of the fighters come to the IKF Representative at an event and ask questions we have no control over, yet we ALWAYS find the time to get an answer for them. We hate when we see other organizations representatives just sitting at ringside and when asked a question, they just point to the promoter and say "Hey, ask him, that's not my responsibility."
The job of ALL IKF Representatives is to assist in making the event run as stressless as possible for the promoter, and if you ask ANY of our promoters, they will tell you that it's a winning combination. Usually when a fighter enters the ring, they don't think of the "LITTLE" things that are SO VERY important at a fight until it deals with them directly. Many times, a spectator can be watching an event and have no clue what problems are happening behind the scene that the IKF is trying to fix. For example, at one of Duke Roufus' events in Milwaukee, WS, USA, the ring started to fall apart during the middle of the event and I personally climbed under the ring with the ring crew and fixed it before a major accident occurred and very few people knew what a major problem it was, not even the promoter. It wasn't the first ring I fixed and it certainly won't be the last. At the May 14th PPV event, the people the ring was rented from forgot to put the corner stools in the corners. It doesn't sound like a big thing, but ask Curtis Bush and Tommy Kimbers people... It was a BIG thing. Of course, they came to me to ask where the stools were, as if I knew. But instead of turning away, I got up and helped find them. Do any of us mind doing the extra work at an event? Not at all. Remember, were the IKF...
So now that we have an understanding about how important EVERYONE'S job is to make an event happen, lets set down some FIRM laws to protect those that put their heart on the line for what they want to do. The IKF has been asked to do something about it from many fighters and promoters and we feel it's time to make a stand everyone involved.
Coming on the heels of the problems with the big May 14th, PPV event and also, another promoter pulling the plug only 8 days prior to the event, the IKF will make official today our NEW OFFICIAL LAWS & GUIDELINES for ALL FIGHTERS and PROMOTERS!
Here are just SOME of the new Regulations Confirmed with yet more to be adopted. (FPCL= Fighter Promoter Contract Law
FPCL-1: Any promoter who cancels their promotion within 15 days prior to the scheduled date of their promotion WILL be HELD Legally Responsible to pay the entire purses of ALL the Pro Fighters Signed under Contract to fight on their Event. All Purses Must be paid within 7 Calendar days after the date of the scheduled event or legal action WILL be taken against the promoter.
So why so FIRM here? Read on...
DENNIS LANE - North Carolina Fighter & Promoter Pulls the Plug at Last Minute...
All the contracts were signed and all the fighters set to go, except for promoter and fighter Dennis Lane himself. Lane was scheduled to meet IKF World Cruiserweight Muay Thai Champion Chris Wright of England this last Saturday night, June 26th, in North Carolina, USA for the vacant IKF Heavyweight Muay Thai Title, but Lane pulled the plug at the last minute. This marks the "4th" time Lane has backed out of an event dating back to late1998. Lane had hoped to fight for the IKF World Title against Wright who holds the IKF World Cruiserweight Muay Thai Title but this looks like his last chance at it. Several Muay Thai fighters have wanted to fight for the Heavyweight title including Wright of England, Duke Roufus of Wisconsin, USA, Grant Barker of Sydney, Australia and a few others. However, all were waiting for Lane's event to challenge for it. Now the title remains vacant and WHO will fight for it remains up in the air.
Lane also destroyed the fight plans of IKF United States Full Contact Rules Middleweight Champion Dave Marinoble of Roseville, CA, USA and Melvin Robinson of Washington DC, USA. Marinoble and Robinson were scheduled to meet in a title defense of Marinoble's US title which he won a couple months back against Larry Jarrett of Bradenton, Florida, USA by unanimous decision.
In addition, the IKF would like to make it clear that all fighters are responsible as well when they sign into an official fight contract. It's about time this sport becomes professional.
FPCL-2: IF any Pro fighter who has signed a fighters contract to fight on an event pulls out of the event with less than 21 days prior to the event shall only be released from his/her contract if the reasons are medical or family emergency. If such occurs, the fighter must provide proof of such within 48 hours to the promoter of the event AND the IKF. If no proof is given within 48 hours of the fighters cancelation, the said fighter shall be responsible for any and all expenses that the the promoter can prove of that relate to the said fighters bout. These expenses will be those of BOTH fighters involved in the bout and shall include;
1: The opponents Purse (If a suitable replacement fighter cannot be signed in time for the event)
2: Spent travel fees as well as ADDITIONAL travel fees to bring in another fighter to replace said opponent.
3: Any proof of advertisements related to the bout in question.
The IKF is also stepping in in regards to the assuring of fighters purses after all the let downs of the Mass Destruction PPV event where a pull out of a partner left the 2 other promoters holding the bill and several fighters didn't even get paid for their fights. The IKF has now implemented the following FIRM RULE for ALL PROMOTERS;
FPCL-3: Before ANY Pro IKF Event is to begin, the IKF Event Representative MUST be given ALL the Fighters Purse Money in cash or in a Cashiers Check made out to each fighter. If the promoters does not pay "ALL" the contracted Pro Fighters Purses Prior to the event, the IKF Representative will NOT ALLOW the event to continue. If the event is forced to be cancelled because of this, the promoter will be held legally liable for all the purses of all the fighters as well as travel expenses each fighter may have paid and can prove that they were not paid for.
So, your thinking, "WAIT a minute, the IKF would stop a fight and cancel the show?
YES, WE WILL! No other organization has a firm rule about purse guarantees. In fact, over the years, every organization has been caught in the middle of the promoter that didn't have the money and the fighter(s) that didn't get paid. For example, the big DRAKA events that were going so great for some time met disaster last year when a financial backer pulled out and their gate income was only about $3,000.00, not to mention a TERRIBLE PPV income! The result? Maurice Smith $90,000 purse, never got it. Jean Claude Leayer, $50,000 purse, never got it. Jim Mullen, $15,000? Same thing. Some of the fighters like Danny Steele were finally paid their full purse while others only got .50 cents on the dollar. Look back when Dennis Alexio fought Branko Cikatic in Las Vegas on the big TV event. Again there was a problem with purses. When Duke Roufus fought Jim Mullen in Porta Rico, again, financial problems. Ask around and you'll find someone who remembers someone that was stiffed in every country with every sanctioning body overseeing the event.
Well, it finally happened in the IKF and we can assure you from the outcome of it all, it will NEVER happen again! Maybe after you read this you will agree that the PAID FIRST rule MUST be ENFORCED Strongly! The May 14th Mass Destruction event started having problems when event organizing partner Rick Brodier, pulled out of the corporation about 4-5 weeks prior to the big event. He had negotiated with the 2 MAIN financial backers (Haddad & Malanson) to pay Kimber an unheard of purse of $150,000..... But that's another story yet to come as we know more... With the money that had already been spent, the LAST thing we thought about was if everyone would be paid or not. It takes "A LOT" of money to put an event on Viewers Choice and PPV. Not just "Production Cost" but the "Rights" to do it. In addition, some of the fighters on the event had negotiated some large purses with the corporation and several received money up front. Don Wilson received his ENTIRE purse in full up front of $150,000. Kimber received a $20,000 deposit and $30,000 more the night of the event. We found out later that the $30,000 he received that night was suppose to be used to pay all the undercard fighters which happens to come out to "EXACTLY" $30,000. Keep in mind that Kimber was a partner in the promotional company and from what we have been shown by a contract signed by him, he had agreed to WAIT for his purse until after EVERYONE ELSE was paid. However Kimber has told us that he signed the contract under pressure and never agreed to that. "Under Pressure?" Why sign the contract? If you felt Under Pressure, just pull out. Walk away from it all. Right? Well, obviously a good idea looking back, but obviously not back then for Kimber. With $20,000 already paid to him, he SHOULD have walked away if he felt pressured. Kimber told everyone the event would bring in "7" figures! What a GREAT Salesman. Rick Roufus received a $15,000 deposit but was still owed an outstanding purse of over $90,000! Stan Longinidis received only $10,000 of a $35,000 contracted purse. In regards to the undercard? The only two fighters who cashed their checks with ease was Curtis Bush and a fighter who didn't even fight, Juan Adamos. It was clear that the 2 main financial backers knew NOTHING about kickboxing, marketing it and let alone what a more reasonable purse should have been for some of the fighters. I'm not saying these guys don't deserve it, but the fact is, you can only pay what you have, NOT what you HOPE to have. Sounds like these guys stiffed some people right? Well, actually, they delt out over $600,000 for the event. Over twice as much as the most expensive event in USA History. Do you think the promoters spent the 6 figures wisely? Who's left holding the bill? The bad checks. Someone who believed in a kickboxer enough to dish out nearly a million and we wonder why it's hard to find investors in this sport. I can't name the number of times I tried to them all suggestions, ideas, helpful hints to save money and make the show successful. Marketing ideas etc. Heck, Kevin Rosier was willing to pass out thousands of fliers at special events he attended before the big fight and can you believe the promoters didn't even send any out to him? NONE! Rosier said the criticism of his bout performance wouldn't have been so bad on his fight if he would have just gotten paid. He lost over $30,000 in fight opportunities because of the May 14th event. Does that sound familiar to any of you fighters?? If so, than you can see why the PAY FIRST LAW MUST be STRONGLY ENFORCED! Now do you agree more?
The Mass Destruction fighters were the victims, but like terrible thing, if something can be learned from it, something made better, a change, it doesn't go forgotten. We even kicked around the idea of calling the new law the "MASS DESTRUCTION LAW". And you can now see why?
All the events that met financial trouble with their purses all relied on the same thing. Big ticket sales and big PPV numbers which NONE have EVER received. Even K-1 USA did terrible in the PPV market. NO PPV event has ever done well. But wait a few months and someone will try it again. We only hope the marketing is better, but even if it were, do enough people care enough to pay to see ANY fighter out there fight? ALL the big names have been on PPV now and NONE of them drew at all!
So what about states where there is an athletic commission like California? Nevada? Well, in the case of the Draka event, the California Commission only requested a security bond of $20,000 from the promoters. Of course they trusted them because on EVERY event before their last one, the DRAKA promoters paid out big fees in CASH. However, on the last one, the purses were over $200,000. So it was obvious that the State Commission made an error here. An error of TRUST. In regards to the Mass Destruction event? Again, the error was that of TRUST. As we said, from our position, we had already seen all the deposits paid out. All the officials paid, TV production, PPV Licenses, venue rental etc. etc. So we left the worry with the The Massachusetts State Athletic Commission who was at the event to oversee it. The promoters personally gave me the checks to hand to the fighters and why wouldn't I think they'd be good? What I didn't know was that the Mass. State Commission never assured that ALL the purse money was there on deposit. We allowed the fight to continue thinking they had done this and they never did. Words will never express the anger and hurt I have for what happened to the fighters on the event. It's an anger and hurt I still have today which made me truly do something about it rather than just forget about it like a lot of organizations have done in the past. So much for trust.
We can all look back now and say, "Why didn't we stop the event when we saw we didn't have cashiers checks?" Sure we could of "looking back". And it would have been the right thing to do... "Looking back now". But when you have several thousand people in an arena, 12 fighters ready for probably what they believe is the biggest fight of their careers and a PPV feed ready to go live around the Nation, you don't just push the stop button. HOWEVER... After what happened? After I look back? I can give every fighter my personal guarantee that it will NEVER happen again on an IKF event!
Somewhere down the line we're going to make someone ANGRY because we stopped an event. I know it will happen. Hopefully we can LOOK BACK after it all and know we stopped a potential disaster and hopefully everyone will support us in doing so. Hopefully. The doors will never even OPEN until we have the Pro Purse Money so we won't need to ask anyone to go home. No fighters will be dressed down and no music will be playing. And as the saying goes, "It's easier Said than Done" Well, "WE WILL DO IT" if necessary to protect the fighters involved! The REAL question is though...
Will you all support us when we do..?
FULL CONTACT RULES SUPER HEAVYWEIGHT SITUATION...
A few months back, promoter Leon Ramsey of West Virginia, USA cancelled his event saying he had financial problems with some of his sponsors. On the line was the IKF Pro Super Heavyweight Full Contact Rules Intercontinental Title bout between George Randolph of West Virginia, USA and Rolandus Digrys of England. Well, I'd like to give some more info to you readers in regards to that event and the situation with the IKF FCR Super Heavyweight World title. The winner of that bout was going to fight the winner of the May 14th bout between Mike LaBree and Kevin Rosier for the IKF Super Heavyweight Full Contact Rules World Title. Originally, BACK in 1998 when this event was being planned out, Dennis Alexio was going to fight Rick Roufus for the title but Alexio decided not to fight on the event. ( He looks like the smart one now after what all happened) However, once Alexio was not an opponent for Roufus, Roufus choose to fight a Leg Kick bout, leaving the Super Heavyweight Full Contact Rules title still vacant. Next the plan was to have Labree, Rosier, Digrys, Randolph, Anthony Elmore, Dennis Lane and Grant Barker compete in elimination bouts on events to determine which 2 fighters were going to fight for the IKF World Super Heavyweight Title on the May 14th Mass Destruction event. However the event organizer for the May 14th event, Rick Brodier jumped the gun and signed legal contracts with both Rosier and Labree BEFORE the schedule of elimination bouts was announced. Once the contracts were signed, the IKF had to go with the plan and simply have the winner of the Rosier vs Labree bout fight one of the others AFTER the May 14th event. However, as the Spring of 1999 went on, some of the fighters became eliminated in that mix. Elmore has been eliminated in a non title bout loss to Alexio in Hawaii.Dennis Lane was pulled from contention by the IKF when it clearly appeared that he did not want to fight in the mix of fighters put forth. Grant Barker expressed he wanted to retire after his Muay Thai loss to Duke Roufus in Milwaukee and George Randolf lost to Labree in a non title bout before the May 14th Mass Destruction event anyway. A rematch is still possible here. Next we have Rolandus Digrys of England and Dennis Alexio in Hawaii, who currently holds the IKF FCR "HEAVYWEIGHT" title but would like to shoot for the IKF Super Heavyweight title against Labree or whoever. So hopefully this will explain to many why and how we featured Labree and Rosier for the IKF FCR Super Heavyweight World title on the big May 14th Mass Destruction event.
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