Bob Sapp walks out on K1
Credit: Fight Opinion . Com
K-1 vs. PRIDE vs. Fuji TV vs. Sapp
By Zach Arnold
On Saturday night in Holland, Bob Sapp bolted before his scheduled main event with Ernesto Hoost, causing a major firestorm in front of 17,500 fans at the Amsterdam Arena. Sankei Sports, the newspaper affiliated with Fuji TV (which broadcasted the K-1 event), declared that “Sapp ran away” from the fight and issued a boycott against Hoost. The newspaper quoted matchmaker Sadaharu Tanigawa as saying that Sapp “requested unreasonable demands” right before his fight, and that a possible “banishment” or lawsuit could evolve from his actions. Yomiuri Sports had a reporter quoting the ring announcer at the K-1 show talking about Sapp being cowardly and how he left 30 minutes before the main event.
In a press release issued by K-1, Tanigawa mentioned that Sapp is still under contract with K-1 and cannot leave to another organization.
According to a Japanese source in the fight industry, former K-1 boss (and still a powerful figure in the company) Kazuyoshi Ishii was on hand at the Amsterdam Arena show, and not in jail as some people thought. According to our Japanese source, here is a brief summary of what allegedly took place between Bob Sapp and K-1:
Sapp was rumoredly asking somewhere in between $500,000-$600,000 for the fight against Ernesto Hoost, but K-1 had apparently not agreed to this amount. Some insiders in the Japanese fight industry believe that another company may have made a financial offer to Sapp and that this was what led to the fight reconsideration. (Daily Sports notes that DSE/Hustle and WWE are companies that can pay big money if Sapp leaves K-1). On Tuesday, Nikkan Sports printed a statement from DSE that denied any involvement in the matter.
Sapp refused to fight against Hoost (while sporting bandages) and was admonished (either by K-1 or by K-1 Holland event promoter Simon Rutz)
Sapp took the admonishment seriously enough that he had bodyguards arranged for himself in front of his hotel room (Nikkan Sports on Tuesday said that Sapp brought at least two bodyguards with him to the show)
Sapp was seen arguing with K-1 and promotion staff waving around a piece of paper (the contract). The piece of paper being waved around was apparently a contractual release that would have made him a free agent.
Sapp was taken away to a “safe house” after the argument. Yomiuri Sports newspaper noted that Sapp had an issue with not checking into the hotel room that K-1 had designated for him to be at.
Full disclosure: We have placed phone calls to contacts in Seattle to try to find out more about the story, but no success. We did get a hold of one source, but they did not know any details about the situation.
Influential blogger Black Eye has a list of four theories about what he thinks might have happened:
A contract or visa problem
DSE or another promotion made an offer and Sapp is heading elsewhere.
Sapp became scared of fighting Hoost and ran away.
Sapp was caught doping.
On Tuesday, it was reported in Nikkan Sports that matchmaker Sadaharu Tanigawa would start imposing financial penalties on Sapp if he worked for any other promotion. Tanigawa claimed that Sapp has more than two years left on his K-1 contract, and that any time Sapp works for another promotion, he will have to pay a penalty of 100 million yen (close to $1 million USD) per fight. K-1 noted that all legal discussions are taking place via lawyers at the moment.
Despite the magnitude of this incident, it leads to a much more powerful situation regarding PRIDE, K-1, and Fuji TV (with producer Kunio Kiyohara calling the shots). In the much-talked about yakuza scandal, Kiyohara’s name has been clearly associated with his closeness to DSE President Nobuyuki Sakakibara. K-1 has had an off-again, on-again relationship with Kiyohara and the K-1 promotion has found TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System) to be a willing partner for their bigger television shows. In the past, there have been stories of political problems between Kazuyoshi Ishii and Kunio Kiyohara.
God with this and Mark Kerr pulling out. It doesn't matter what the reason is, especially when you're the main event (and in both cases the half of the main event that really sold the show themselves...well Hoost in his hometown sold, but internationally Sapp was the attraction there) you can't pull out of a fight that you were heavily advertised for. People paid money to get tickets, made plans, went to the show and got completely robbed. Same with people who ordered the PPV only to find out that in a lot of cases the match they ordered it for never even happened, and there's nothing they can do about it. ACF tried making up to their live crowd since it was a live show only, no PPV, by offering half off tickets to the next show or some shit. But ACF as it turns out is involved in some scandolous shit anyway, so I doubt we hear much about them anymore.
This has to be a big disappointment to K-1 and a big upset to the fans.... you promise a fighter to fight and he walks out.. can we say lawsuit?
if u know K-1 the fight they got was better anyway. and the card was built around bojansky vs lebanner and they got that fight so know one really cared but k-1 is becoming a better and better show getting away from the freak show superfights and building great cards. the k-1 max shows are amazing and they will be the whole year
buakaw is the shit as is masato and morkavijious cant spell his name but hes the shit.
For a die-hard fan sitting in America somewhere that's easy to say. I was talking about the live house, who were in Hoost's hometown, probably a lot of fans were there to see his revenge match with Bob Sapp. Bob Sapp is an international attraction, Hoost is a hometown hero, and they've got a great history and Hoost finally could have beat him and retired on that note. OK if you're a die-hard K-1 fan you get Aerts and Hoost instead, super cool right? Wrong. I don't care how much better that fight appears to be on paper to a kickboxing/K-1 fan, the guy was wearing a headset and calling action for television, and he puts on Semmy Schilt's shorts and on an hour's notice or some shit fights arguably the best K-1 fighter of all time. That's not "better if you know K-1". That's K-1 coming through with a kick-ass "plan B" with very little time to come up with one, however the original match was the one promoted as the main-event and probably laid claim to a large portion of the audience who was in attendance, and they got screwed out of seeing what they paid to see.
no one knows the real reason for sapp leaving or why he didnt fight. but if k1 did have a contract in place and sapp backed out then what are they going to do. somone had to offer sapp a lot of money not to fight because its not like hes risking anything fighting hoost. its doesnt matter whether sapp wins or loses his fight because hes an attraction either way.
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