WEDNESDAY, April 5th, 2000
Amateurs And Pros!
Amateurs DON'T GET PAID A PURSE!
Let us start off with some simple definitions that anyone can look up in any dictionary around the world.
Now that we have written the facts of these two words, Amateur and Professional, let us get into the heart of this issue. This special news piece is one we here at the IKF and ISCF (Mixed Martial Arts Sanctioning Body) have been working on for some time now. It's a very important issue for us as well as the overall growth of the sport of kickboxing and mixed martial arts around the world. We have been back and forth as to how to present this issue to all of you and to make sure we don't offend anyone. We have decided "This Time" not to put any names in this article since we would like to set the record of fact straight at this time instead of pointing any fingers at anyone. We say, "At this Time" because if we continue to encounter the problems we have in the past with this issue, we will be forced, for the future growth of the sport to start pointing fingers at certain trainers and fighters who continue to abuse these 2 words, Amateur and Pro. Not only are they abusing the actual definition of "Amateur " and "Professional" in the sport of kickboxing and mixed martial arts but these amateur fighters and trainers who ask for money to fight also make the business of promoting more and more expensive for promoters. True, without fighters there would be no promoters. But it works both ways. Without promoters, the fighters would have no fights.
If a Promoter cannot afford a Professional fighters purse or he/she has met his limit as to what he wishes to spend on fight purses, he surly isn't looking to add to his expense list a purse for an amateur fighter. Why should he? Not to mention the expense of some athletic commissions for pro promoters licenses and other fees related to Professional Promotions. Unless you have promoted, you have no idea how expensive promoting can be. Many people do what we call "Spectators Math." What we mean here is the spectator who goes to a promotion and looks around, counts 500 people at $20 a head and truly believes a promoter "Profits" $10,000.00.
What they fail to calculate in is the expenses of an event. For example, the venue rent of $2,000+, venue insurance of $500.00, fighters insurance $500.00, hotels for fighters $500.00, Judges, Referee, Timekeeper etc. $500.00, event advertising, $1,000.00, long distance phone bills $250.00, fliers and posters $250.00, event security $250.00, ambulance stand-by $250.00, travel (Gas) expenses for fighters coming in $500.00, event programs $250.00, special event license $250.00 and before you know it, the promoter already has $7,000.00 into the event and we haven't even got to Professional fighters Purses. So if we have 4 Professional fighters, making $1,000.00 each, there goes the whole event income, and where is the pay for the promoter who took months planning the event? Who cares about sanctioning fees at this point. We lost our rears! Now, when an amateur wants to be paid? Imagine how much more money a promoter stands to lose... So where are all those people now who think the promoters make thousands of dollars in profit?
We can support a promoter paying an amateur a percentage of the tickets he or she sells. It's only fare if the fighter is a big draw or is assured to sell a lot of tickets to his/her gym, friends and family. Better yet for the fighter if he/she doesn't have their own promoter to promote them. So now with that foundation put down, let us express more of our reasons for this article.
There was a big reason why the IKF first started back in 1992 and it centered greatly around the issue of amateurs asking to be paid. We have been proud to follow this rule in the mixed martial arts as well with our sister organization, the ISCF. We won't mention any names here but lets just say that we had a fighter from Southern California pull out of the main event title bout 3 days before one of our events because he wasn't going to be paid to fight. He and his trainer were going to get travel expenses, but we were not going to pay him for fighting. HE WAS AN AMATEUR! It was an AMATEUR event and an AMATEUR bout! Obviously we lost a great deal on the event since we had been building the main event up with the hometown fighter who was the local favorite for the main event. Does this sound familiar to any promoters out there? Of course it does.Amateur DO NOT GET PAID TO FIGHT! That's the bottom line FACT! If you want to get paid, it's simple, TURN PRO!
In addition to this, the IKF has taken a small amount of heat from some of the amateur fighters here in the United States about our desire for their safety in requiring them to wear headgear. We have had some Southern California promoters for example choose not to sanction with us because of this rule. Of the ones we still work with, they have informed us that they have had problems getting fighters to agree to use the headgear. Many of these fighters want their face to be seen or claim they don't even wear headgear when they spar in the gym. Other reasons include a fighter saying it blocks their vision, it's too heavy etc. etc. We have heard many reasons why amateurs don't want to wear headgear. However, we can say that across the United States, 90% of the amateur fighters we deal with have no problem with wearing headgear, especially after hearing our logical reasons for it. Many praise us for making a stand in the name of fighters safety. A praise we are proud of.
On the other hand, one of the main reasons a lot of amateur fighters got away from wearing headgear has been promoters. Again, were not pointing fingers here but the fact is, many promoters out there want the fights on their events to appear as Professional Kickboxing or Professional Mixed Martial Arts. The crowd knows no better and they truly believe they're watching Pro fights. When a fighter wears headgear, their status as an amateur is clear. A promoter here on the West Coast that started this trend years ago did so to be able to offer better TV fights. The audiences watching TV like the live audience at the events don't know whether these fighters are amateur or professional and if it's an amateur bout, you don't hear the announcers saying it is. For this reason, these promoters and the sanctioning organizations they work with believe "It just looks better for TV and sells for more money." True. But again, we here at the IKF and the ISCF are more concerned for a fighters safety and the future of their fighting careers. We like to look at the long term picture and not the short gain.
Lets look at this from a different angle. Lets compare the sports of kickboxing and boxing. Ask Lennox Lewis if he wears headgear when sparring in the gym. Ask Evander Holyfield if he wore headgear as an amateur. Ask Tony Lopez if he was ever paid to fight an amateur match for USA Boxing. Ask Oscar de la Hoya if he thought his amateur career helped build his skills better to prepare him for his professional career. The answers you will get back from these four Professional World Boxing Champions will be YES, YES, NO and YES! Now once you understand these issues, lets go a bit farther. Lets compare amateur and pro boxing and kickboxing in more detail;
So enough of comparing amateur kickboxing to amateur boxing. What we're trying to say here is that for years, many have been working the sport of kickboxing with the same ol tune. Well as many of you know, with the IKF, "The Game Has Changed!" It's clear that we have made some big changes for the sport because we're looking at the long run. The BIG PICTURE of the Sport! A NEW GAME! We want to offer amateur fighters a safe venue so they can properly learn the sport as a beginner. Then when ready, we want to offer them something greater than the old game has offered them. A reason to turn professional and get paid well for their hard earned skills instead of staying an amateur. Professional Kickboxing purses are the same if not less now then 20 years ago yet no one has pushed to improve the value of the sport for the long run. Too many organizations are in it for the quick buck instead of investing for the long haul. It's going to take time, but we here at the IKF are willing to invest the time and energy to Change The Game!
That's why our televised events and other forms of public exposure to the sport are so important. Plans such as our IKF kickboxing documentary videos, IKF Instructional video, books and magazines of the sport just to list a few examples. Not to mention our future plans for movies that those of the sport can be a part of. Yes, we're organizing big changes for the sport and a much brighter future for everyone, Not just the IKF. Remember, we think TEAM! A great future for the fighters as well as the trainers and the promoters. With a stronger media base and more sponsorship money available, the more financial support we can offer to gyms, trainers, fighter purses and promoters expenses. We may have to suffer in the beginning stages of the New Game with those who wish to work against the issues we've presented such as our firm stand on amateurs not getting paid to fight and our amateur headgear rule. However we can assure those who stand with us now will surly stand tall in the future. Someone needs to Change this Game because every organization before us hasn't improved it much. Only improved their own financial pockets and we want everyone to succeed with us. Again, Remember, we think TEAM! Now don't be sold by our words or let our press influence you. Talk is Cheap and many others have proved that in the past. Keep an eye on the IKF and watch for yourself. Let us prove to you we'll follow up what we say with ACTION. We only plan to do one thing... "Walk the Walk!" So we hope your already a part of the IKF or the ISCF TEAM when we prove this to everyone. If not, the game will surly pass you by because you will wake up one day and surly see that..., The Game Has Changed!
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