Wednesday, March 7, 2007


By Stash Capar

Jerome LeBanner Signs Four-Year Non-Exclusive K-1 Contract, MMA Still In His Sights

The name Jerome LeBanner is synonymous with K-1, so it should not come as a surprise when the LeBanner team announced earlier this week that the French superstar had signed a new four-year deal with the Japanese kickboxing promotion.

However, the management of Team LeBanner has revealed that the Frenchman’s new contract differs greatly from those he signed in the past. The top K-1 competitor has been given greater freedom and will most likely fight in other promotions as well as K-1.

“Yes, we did re-sign with K-1 for four years,” confirmed a Team LeBanner spokesperson. “But we resolved a lot of little details that made our relationship difficult with K-1 in the past. As of now he will be able to take MMA fights for any promotion that offers him one, be it the UFC, BodogFIGHT, Elite XC or whoever.”

While the kickboxing legend, who also holds a 3-1-1 mixed martial arts record, is excited about future MMA prospects, the LeBanner team has made it clear that there are certain organizations and match-ups that they will naturally lean towards.

“We like the ground rules in Elite XC; for a fighter like Jerome this is perfect,” explained LeBanner’s spokesperson. “But we also contacted the UFC, it seems that they don’t want to share a fighter with another promotion, supposedly because of the risk of injuries. Jerome would love to fight [Tim] Sylvia or Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic in the UFC cage, but it will most likely never happen.”

LeBanner, who is one of the most highly paid fighters in K-1, recently promoted his new movie “Scorpion,” and is making weekly appearances on French television and radio stations. His next K-1 fight is to take place in the near future against Team Dragon fighter Junichi Sawayashiki.

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