Peter Aerts has turned down a contract from K-1 and has signed a deal with the European promotion Glory instead.
Fighters Only was exclusively informed of the new contract by Dutch sources close to the situation earlier today.
K-1 apparently “made a low offer” which was not to the taste of the Aerts camp, but the source says that the amount of the offer was not the key consideration.
Instead, the camp apparently had doubts that K-1 could meet the terms of the offers it is making at all, high or low. The deal with Glory is multi-fight, but its specific terms have not been revealed as yet.
Aerts is an old soldier, and so K-1 is not missing out on a rising star or even a star at the peak of his powers. But make no mistake, it is a big loss for the new owners of the legendary fight promotion.
The Dutchman has been a fixture of K-1 from its very earliest days and he is legitimately mainstream famous in Japan; any street he walks down he will be approached by fans before he has even made it halfway.
His decision not to sign for K-1 is therefore in some ways symbolic; it is unusual that someone so closel associated with the tournament would turn his back on it and at the same time, K-1 would reasonably be assumed to have enough of a good relationship with Aerts that any issues could be worked out.
In the constantly fluctuating world of Japanese fightsports nothing is certain but, unless Aerts reneges on the Glory deal immediately, the general consensus may be that K-1 has lost some face by being unable to retain the services of one its most iconic fighters and loyal servants.
K-1 has been on hiatus for the past year, mired in financial difficulties and subject to all manner of deals and counter-deals between parties interested in taking over the brand and its trademarks. Latest intelligence suggests that K-1 is now firmly in the hands of the Korean investor ‘Mr Kim’ and the company is attempting to restock its roster.
But arrayed against them is the Dutch manager and promoter Bas Boon and his Golden Glory outfit. Boon thought he had won the K-1 rights recently, only for them to be snatched from under his nose leaving him with nothing but anger and allegations that he had been double-crossed.
Golden Glory operates a promotion called ‘Glory’ in tandem with a coterie of Russian businessmen and has of late been concentrating its efforts there. But plans are in place to take the show on the road around Europe and with names like Aerts on board the stage is being set for a war with K-1 and its new partner Its Showtime, which is also based in Holland.