Monday, March 19, 2007


By Ken Pishna

Just as Pride FC’s run at the American mixed martial arts market has stalled out, another Japanese promoter is taking aim at audiences in the United States. For some time now, officials at K-1 have been hinting at their Hero’s debut in America (Hero’s is the MMA arm of K-1) and recently, their plans have established a foundation.

According to K-1’s Mr. Tanigawa, K-1 HERO'S will be holding a press conference in the U.S. at the end of March where they will reveal their "plan and strategy." Stated Mr. Tanigawa, "It's going to be a really interesting press conference that will have a lot of content to convey to you, something that will surprise Dana White as well."

Although the press conference will no doubt shed more light on the exact plans that K-1 has in mind for the U.S., sources are coming forth with some of the details for the Hero’s debut in America.

K-1 is planning a Hero’s show for June 2nd in America, most likely at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. The L.A Coliseum would be a rather bold move. The seating capacity for the L.A. Coliseum, according to their website, is 92,000. The current largest live audience to ever attend an MMA event in the U.S. is 19,079, which was set just recently by the Ultimate Fighting Championship in Columbus, Ohio.

Matches such as Hideo Tokoro vs. Kazuya Yasuhiro, Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Kazushi Sakuraba, and Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Melvin Manhoef have headlined recent K-1 MMA events; not exactly match-ups that promise to grab the attention of the masses in the U.S. But according to K-1’s Mr. Maeda, “In the case of America, we have some fighters who have what you call star quality already on standby. They are ready and prepared to go into the ring." Maeda also feels that they have "a world network capacity" that will help them succeed in the U.S.

It appears that Brock Lesnar, a former World Wrestling Entertainment professional wrestling champion and talent acknowledged to have caught the attention of UFC president Dana White, is one of the “star quality” fighters that K-1 has in mind for their Hero’s debut in America. He is on tap to face Hong Man Choi, the 7-foot 2-inch goliath from South Korea. Lesnar is sure to draw some attention when he makes his MMA debut against Choi, but it’s not likely the type of match that will put K-1 over in the U.S.

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