MONDAY, February 24th, 2003, 6:00 PM

Where Is Kickboxing On TV? Big Purses? Is there a Bigger Picture?

So is this icolated or is it a wake-up call for all of kickboxing? Or is it the style of fighting in question? A thread on an internet chat page noted that in Europe, Sky Sports was no longer going to air MuayThai style fighting claiming it isn't exciting enough for British TV! Isn't exciting enough? Could this be true for the USA audience as well?

ESPN has drastically cut back all kickboxing they had which in the past 3-5 years has swayed over to more and more MuayThai style bouts instead of the previously more popular full contact style bouts (Above the waist). ESPN had recorded record viewer numbers when they showed Full Contact style fighting as did ABC sports (Owner of ESPN) when kickboxing was on Wide World of Sports years ago. The viewer numbers haven't come close to those of the 80's on ABC & ESPN. Is full Contact Rules style fighting the desire of the viewers out there? In the defense of these kickboxing shows, it's hard to get an audience at 2:AM on a Tuesday night. Sure we here always complain about the commentating, title contenders and many more production flaws but lets face it, it was kickboxing and it was ON TV! And as the only kickboxing on TV, we still watched it, no matter how bad it was because we were all kickboxing FANS! So WHY does ESPN only show kickboxing in the weeee hours of the morning while Boxing gets top billing on prime time? Is there more to this than a debate in rule styles? Who knows.

One thing is for sure, Kickboxing remains to be the ONLY Major sport in the world without a major TV Contract. For Gods sake, TV Networks have regular shows on Fishing, Trap Shooting, Hunting Dog Challenge, Arm Wrestling, Strongest Man and even Dog Jumping... to name a few of those NON known sports we never even knew were sports... And we have to be told by these TV Executives"We just don't have room for any kickboxing..." Look at FOX who has promoted the Hollywood Boxing show, again at PRIMETIME!! when will kickboxing be given a "CHANCE" to prove our audience in a Prime Time slot. The network that does show kickboxing doesn't even advertise it. we have to find it by "Chance" flipping through the stations.

this last Saturday night the Showtime TV Executives and the nights Promoter can be proud to bring us our 49 seconds of Mike Tyson (Left) who KO'ed Clifford Etienne in Memphis, Tennessee. These executives were sure were even more excited when after being paid 5 Million dollars, Tyson had the nerve to say on live TV "I wasn't paid enough..." What a CROCK! "FIVE MILLION dollars! At 49 seconds, Tyson made more "Per Second" than nearly EVERY kickboxer in the world has made for their greatest payday ever. Tyson made $102,040 Per SECOND! Nearly EVERY Kickboxing promoter we know could put on a GREAT Kickboxing event for what Tyson was paid for just "ONE SECOND" of work, AND have 1 or maybe even 3 World Title fights of GREAT KICKBOXERS on the show as well. All it would take is TV!

So where did all this money come from that Tyson took home? It wasn't "ONE" promoter as it happens in Kickboxing. It was the sponsors who paid for the TV Exposure. Heck, the highest paid kickboxer to date is NOT a K-1 fighter. They have to fight "3 Times" to make their money. It was Don Wilson (Right) when he won his IKF World Title back in May of 1999 who was paid more than any other Professional Kickboxer in the history of the sport. How many millions was Wilson paid? Wrong... It was small change compared to many of the Pro Boxing World Title bouts. Wilson was paid $150,000.00. Or to make it more clear, about 1/33 of what Tyson was paid for Saturday's NON TITLE Bout! But hey, here's an even funnier JOKE. Tyson's opponent, Clifford Etienne lasted 49 seconds in the ring and was paid "ONE MILLION" dollars. That works out to a $20,408.00 per second payday. Heck, and Tyson's bout wasn't even the highest payday in Boxing...Not even close...

So TV Executives... What is it going to take to bring Kickboxing to TV? No doubt the sport has GREAT Promoters and GREAT Fighters! What do you need from us? What do you want from us in Kickboxing? What will it take? Or do we even have a chance.... That is, is there something you have been keeping from us?

Let us help fill in the void here. The truth is, there is FAR more to this than rule styles, available air-time and top name fighters... Sources have informed us that the powers in charge of BOXING have no desire to see KICKBOXING as a "Fight Sport" competitor on TV. It's clear they want this audience all to themselves. They know that Kickboxing is a valid and legit threat to their big Dollar deals around the world, and "HOW" do they get those big dollar deals? TV! Now we see that one of the few companies with a TV Deal, K-1, is being threatened to lose their spot as well. Was there more to it than an Ishii Tax Scandal? Or did they want their money to go somewhere else? Without TV, our Professional Kickboxers may never see the purse money they DESERVE! Same goes for MMA (Mixed Martial Arts like NHB, UFC etc.) though. Boxing was the MAIN source behind their drop from TV in the 90's. Anyone remember a well known politician in Arizona...? This guy was in Boxings corner from the start to the end of MMA on TV. Now with all the Big $$ feeding into Boxing, their voice may be just enough to keep the kicks and choke holds off the TV tube for years to come. If only we had our own TV Network...

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