FMC 1 – 08/16/2009: Trouble in Korea – Promoter Cancelled Seven Out of Ten Scheduled Bouts!
Back in August 7th when FMC (Fighting Mixed Combative) held a press conference in Korea, Jeong Min Kim, the head of FMC told the reporters, “Instead of making a profit, our top priority, is to develop new fighters, and with the fans, we are looking to promote a fantastic event.”
Apparently Kim has served as a Korean representative for Fedor and Aleksander Emelianenko in the past, therefore, at first he thought about starting a management company but since there are a limited number of MMA shows in Korea, he has decided to start an MMA event instead.
At this press conference, Kim also emphasized supporting fighters, “Right now, the life of Korean fighters is very difficult. Most fighters have to have a side job to make their ends meet as a professional fighter. We want to help them out.”
He went as far as saying, “In order for the Korean fight sports to be revived, first of all, we need to get rid of this old tradition of ‘complimentary tickets’. Even if the venue holds only 100 people I will not let freebies enter our event. Gaining a number of paid customers would ultimately bring something back to the fighters, and our MMA event will grow more.”
At the end Kim also revealed that this event will be televised, taped delay, by MBC ESPN.
Everything sounds good except its sort of surprising to find out that in Korea, making an audience actually pay for the tickets is, obviously, a difficult task. If that is true, then how can Korean promoters stay in business?
About a week after this press conference, we all found out the answer to that question.
FMC was forced to cancel seven out of ten scheduled bouts, yet FMC still did the show, with only three bouts, however because of it, they also lost a TV deal with MBC ESPN. Needless to say, Kim must have lost a lot of money doing this inaugural show in Seoul.
According to the reporter who actually went to Korea with the Japanese fighters, it was nothing but chaos.
Out of ten Japanese fighters, three of them, Hiroshi “Iron” Nakamura, Naoki Matsuhista, and Kousuke Umeada, are booked through DEEP and the other seven fighters were booked through WK (Wajiutsu Keishukai).
And these seven fighters booked through WK, had a different dael. They were all supposed to receive half of their purse seven days before the bout but FMC failed to make the wire on time, so WK actually informed FCM that they will not put any of their fighters on the plane. However, according to WK, FMC has promised to “pay half of the purse on the 15th, which is the day before the fight, and if that was not executed, then fighters don’t need to fight.”
WK accepted that proposal and sent seven of their fighters to Korea.
All fighters arrived in Korea but still, FMC couldn’t come up with the money by the end of 15th, yet, WK still gave FCM a chance till noon on the day of the event, however, FCM couldn’t come up with anything so WK notified that all seven fighters will not be available for the event.
FMC pushed the starting time of the show a couple hours later and finally, in the late afternoon, FCM got the money, paid the purse to WK fighters and requested them to fight.
But at that point, it was just too late for the fighters to do a medical check, warm up, and clear all issues in regards to purse, so WK rejected this and FMC was forced to do an event with just three fights.
The three Japanese fighters booked through DEEP had no problem with this purse situation so they fought but the seven fighters from WK left the venue without fighting.
Then after the event, according to this reporter, a very angry FMC called in the WK staff to their office and notified that those seven fighters violated contracts therefore, first, they need to return the money, and secondly FMC has demanded every fighter to pay the penalty which is ten times the purse. In addition, FMC also notified WK that if they don’t return the money, FMC will cancel fighters’ hotel rooms, return flights, and will apply to the government to ban them from leaving the country.
WK felt that the fighters security was the top priority at that point so they returned the money. However, even after WK returned the money FMC still demanded WK staff to sign the agreement that says, “all flight, hotel, and food costs of these seven fighters must be paid by WK”.
WK refused and contacted the Japan Embassy in Seoul for assistance, and finally, all seven fighters with WK staff went to the airport on their own, and some fighters return tickets were already cancelled at that point so some of them had to purchase their own airline tickets to get back to Japan.
This incident was only reported in Japan and Korea and this account is solely based on a report from a Japanese reporter so we still have to wait and see what FMC has to say in regards to this entire mess.
However one thing we know for sure is, although Korea has produced many top MMA fighters in the past, the business of promoting MMA shows is still very primitive in that country.
At Jang Chung Gymnasium, Seol, Korea
Jong Man Kim (Korea / CMA Korea KTT) vs. Hiroshi “Iron” Nakamura (Japan / Tokyo Yellow Mans)
Winner: 3R Hiroshi “Iron” Nakamura by Decision (0-3)
PIC: Hiroshi “Iron” Nakamura never lost a fight in over two years.
He took Hioki Hatsu to a decision for a draw so he is actually considered as one of the best in Japan at 145 lbs & under. Nakamura will be competing in the ADCC world championship this September in Barcelona.