WEDNESDAY, October 7th, 1998, AT 4:00 PM
What do you get for your
IKF President, Steve Fossum
Recently, I spoke to a promoter who said he wanted to co-sanction his event with the IKF and another organization. Years ago, the IKF tried to co-sanction as many times as possible to bring some UNITY to the sport. However, the problem was that while the IKF was WORKING with the promoter to help make their event successful, the other organization only collected a fee and many times, never even sent a representative to the event.
Promoters worldwide have e-mailed the IKF or called and asked; "Why should we sanction with the IKF?" Well, hopefully after reading this, the question will be, "Why sanction with ANYONE else?" Or at least until they go to work for their members (fighters, trainers, promoters) YES... GO TO WORK!
My challenge and the IKF challenge to the other organizations is simple, "DO MORE FOR YOUR PEOPLE and the SPORT!". If you do, your organizations along with the IKF and the "ENTIRE SPORT OF KICKBOXING" will benefit from it.
We here at the IKF do not want to see the other organizations fold. Heck, any good business person knows that competition is GOOD for any business or organization. As long as it's "GOOD" competition. However, we hope that all the other organizations open their eyes and see that what the IKF is doing is TRULY, THE FUTURE of OUR SPORT! For ALL of US. I mean hey, It's no secret that the IKF was formed from watching what the other organizations were and were not doing. Just like a new style of martial arts. A new system was formed by combining the great strengths of several different styles and throwing away the negative techniques. Many organizations in kickboxing today have great points. The WKA? The oldest organization. The ISKA? Their TV deal. WAKO? Their amateur focus, and several others... Of course, there are other organizations that have no stand alone strong points, they just exist to exist with no rankings, no web site etc. They just exist for the few events their president usually promotes himself in his hometown or state and holds world titles with 2 people from the same state. You all know about these organizations. These organizations do more harm than good to the sport. The IKF was formed after Dan Stell and I saw what the other organizations were "NOT" doing for the sport. For each of the previously mentioned strong points, although they may be great and all, what value are they to the sport?
For example, It doesn't matter how long you've been around. The question is, "What are you doing NEW for the sport NOW?"
No matter how great your TV deal is, if the organization or promoters are not sharing the wealth with the fighters, than you might as well be on local cable access. I don't care how much exposure you give someone on TV. It doesn't mean "OTHER" promoters are going to pay the fighters they see on TV more. Heck, those with the TV at their events have the money to pay more, not the guy who sees you on TV and wants to have a fighter on his/her show with only gate money to work with and a little sponsorship cash. I mean come on... Any question who's making the money here? And the quality of those 1 hour shows they get paid $18,000 for? I watched one from start to finish the other night and truly "WANTED" to be impressed. I wanted to get an idea of what would be expected of the IKF to produce a TV show like this one. Especially as we work our TV deal for 1999.
Although it was great to see ANY kickboxing on TV, the show truly proved to me that we need MORE programs of Kickboxing. These guys need some competition so they will be forced to improve. They need to. We don't have just 1 channel covering boxing, football, basketball or soccer. Why should kickboxing be any different. Besides, with another show, say our IKF show out there, both organizations would strive to have better and better shows. I mean here in the USA for example, FOX network landed the NFL Football contract a few years back from one of the, then Top 3 Major networks. In doing so, all of us Americans remember the jokes, "So who will do the play by play, cartoon character Homer Simpson?" Heck, Fox was a laugh to many critics. But look today. Not only has Fox NFL Football become a leader, everyone else is following their "Put the score in a small box in the corner idea" and several other great "NEW" ideas for the viewers. ESPN Football now has an on screen, computer generated "First down line". Would they have thought of this without any competition? Probably not. Why would they, if they had the ONLY game in town? Why improve, why change?
But Kickboxing on TV NEEDS TO BE GOOD! "ALWAYS!" In the 1 hour program I saw which the cable company paid $18,000+ for, I saw 1 Pro Muay Thai fight. Now, I could discuss the fight, the rule division and pick it apart, but it's not necessary. The fact is, is that the show SHOULD have had about 3 of these PRO bouts. Looking from a different concern of credibility, the bout was between a fighter who currently HOLDS the organizations North American Title and he was fighting for a United States Title. What? Why would he fight for a "SMALLER" title? Why? It was poor organization.
From a programing standpoint, there were lots of poor decisions. As a spectator or viewer, watching fighting, I want to see action. Round breaks should be short and have some commentary from the ringside commentators if possible. Sadly enough though, if I were not REALLY into kickboxing as I obviously am, I might have never seen the end to this bout. Why? Well, the bout had 3 minute commercial breaks between EACH and EVERY round. Between rounds, if I'm not a big fan, I would have lost it from channel surfing. Although I think the fighters should get a chance to talk after their bout so people see who they are (Exposure) I didn't think that the interviews after the bout were produced good (Keep in mind that this was NOT a live event, it was a tape delay so editing could have been done a lot better.) The interviews were too long and were simply there to fill the 1 hour of programing required by the cable company. What a waste of money I thought. Post fight interviews should be quick and to the point.
Next I saw 2 amateurs fight. Now you all know the IKF supports amateurs 150% but to headline two with only 3 fights each on a nationally broadcast TV show of kickboxing? Sadly enough, it was a sloppy fight and made kickboxing look sloppy. The show ended with a submission bout which lasted about 2 minutes. So, in 1 hour of programing and we saw 1 pro bout, 1 amateur kickboxing bout and a submission bout. It didn't leave me wanting more. It left me frustrated. I thought, "Was that it?" The cable company paid $18,000 for that 1 hour program. I know the amateurs were not paid. The submission fighters? No idea what they got paid but probably less than $2000 for both. The Pro Muay Thai bout? If the fighters were lucky, they divided maybe $6,000 between them. So that leaves $10,000.00. Now keep in mind, from this 1 event, they probably made a minimum of 6 of these shows if not 8. After paying the fighters on each show, they had about $10-$12,000 left per 1 hour show to use for production cost and the event promotion itself. So 6 X say 11 = $66,000. Now I know it didn't take $66,000.00 to film the event. To be gracious, we'll say $25,000.00, and thats being VERY GRACIOUS. So in knowing this, where did the other $41,000.00 go? Sadly enough, not to the fighters. Keep in mind that this doesn't include ticket money, sponsorship money and event concessions. Gee, who got it all? Sure I'll admit I'd love to have it. But who should get it? If we want our sport to grow, the FIGHTERS should get a big part and the promoter should be allowed to gain a good profit from his/her work of organizing the entire event.
The sport of kickboxing needs leading organizations who are willing to WORK at making the sport better. Not see how much money they can get for their organization or themselves. For way tooooooo long, other organizations have been riding the wave of the only game in town. Taking in sanctioning fees because of things like, "We've been around the longest" or "We are the largest" or "We have TV" etc. Well wake up everyone. It's time for a change! To better our sport we here at the IKF have cleverly "Turned up the Heat" so others will CLEAN UP THEIR GAME. Hopefully it will continue to work for the future of kickboxing. I truly hope that the work the IKF is doing along with the shake-ups we are causing makes some organizations upset. Truly I do. Because we never try to improve until our cage is rattled. As a fighter, I worked harder if I lost. Same goes for running a sanctioning body. I hope a lot of cages are rattled so some other organizations will start working harder to better the sport, again, for EVERYONE! The IKF doesn't want to be the ONLY organization. Who would we compare ourselves to, to improve our organization? Many organizations can exist AS LONG as WE ALL WORK at making the sport better. Come on everyone. Get angry enough to IMPROVE for the better of the sport! Take those "JABS" we've been giving you the last few months and better your game. If the other organizations choose to do as they have in the past and just sit there and not take the IKF seriously, than fine. We'll just keep gaining more and more and continue to pass everyone in every category. Who knows, maybe we "Will" become the only organization. Wouldn't that be truly sad! No unification bouts. No choices. No competition. No pressure to develope new ideas. What a shame it would be for the sport. It's pretty obvious that the IKF has already rattled some cages and jumped to the top.
Now its the move of the other organizations. Our sources have told us that several Worldwide Sanctioning Organizations that the IKF feels it competes with WORLDWIDE are having big worldwide leadership meetings within the next few weeks. I hope they all talk of this letter. I hope they all feel rattled. I, Steve Fossum, IKF World President "WANT" them to be angry enough from taking jabs from the IKF to improve their game. Hopefully they will realize the IKF "TRUE INTENTIONS" here are to help better the sport as a whole for everyone. If they truly realize this, who knows, maybe we can all sit down and break some bread, again, to better the sport. Unification of titles, better paydays etc. The possibilities are there, we just need to all work to better the sport and in doing so, WE as sanctioning organizations need to offer more! Do more! Be more for our members. The other organizations better take the IKF serious. If not, they will never be able to catch up to us. Our goal is to bring respect, credibility, exposure and great fighter paydays to the sport we all love, KICKBOXING. Below are just a "FEW" things the IKF does to assist our "PROMOTERS" on their events. What do the others do?
Lets stop here. The great TV deal? If it's so great, than why is the organization with the great TV deal asking some of THEIR own promoters to pay a fee of as much as $60,000.00 for the TV production crew to film the event when it only cost about $10-20,000.00. And why not just pay the promoter outright a percentage of the TV money?
It's time the fighters, trainers and promoters start asking organizations, "What will the Organization do for Them?
You fighters, trainers and promoters DON'T NEED ANY Organization! WE NEED YOU! No more free rides gang. We as sanctioning organizations need to WORK for our MEMBERS! Not just for our organization! "What Will We do for Our Members?" What do we as Sanctioning Organizations offer? It needs to be much more than letters! Those already members of the IKF, who are ALL part of the whole IKF WORLD TEAM know this answer. Who's NEXT?
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