Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

No Holds Barred: Mike Kogan of FEG USA 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with Mike Kogan, Director of FEG USA.

FEG (Fighting and Entertainment Group) is a worldwide combat sports organization based in Japan, and the parent company of the K-1 kickboxing and Dream mixed martial arts promotions.

Last week at a news conference in Tokyo, what may become one of the most significant developments in the world in the combat sports was revealed.

At this news conference, FEG Inc. Director and CEO Sadaharu Tanikawa announced a partnership with the Shanghai-based investment bank Puji Capitals. He said its purpose is to "win in the world market and become the world's greatest fight sport company. To recreate or even eclipse the success of soccer's World Cup, we will bring in investors from all over the world and partner with businesses all over the world. We have formed a business entity called an SPV (special purpose vehicle) in order to create an organization like soccer's FIFA and to take the UFC and WWE head on."

Also at this news conference, Dream Event Producer Keiichi Sasahara said, "When you think of international standard in fightsport UFC may come to mind, but we plan to replace them in that respect. The numbers 20 or 30 billion have been mentioned and I think fighting sport definitely has that kind of potential. I'm sure the fans are wondering what kind of effect the partnership will have on K-1 and Dream."

We spoke with Mike Kogan Tuesday afternoon by phone to find out more specifics about what this will all mean for the combat sports. In a lengthy and candid interview, he explained how this new partnership will benefit both K-1 and Dream, but also how it will affect them differently, as K-1 already has a large international presence while Dream needs mainly to focus on Japan. He elaborated on these plans to hold a version of the World Cup, which for now will be for K-1. He presented his views on the structure of mixed martial arts, and why mixed martial arts is not a sport but "a promoter-driven fight entertainment."

We went into depth on the plans of FEG to "become the world's greatest fight sport company" and what this means for both K-1 and Dream, for Japan, North America, and the rest of the world, and much more.

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