by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
As reports surfaced earlier today that the planned K-1/EliteXC event, Dynamite USA!, was in jeopardy of not taking place, the situation has taken a turn, at least temporarily, towards the positive side.
Dynamite USA! – co-promoted by Fight Entertainment Group (FEG), the promoter of K-1 events, and Pro Elite, Inc., the promoter of EliteXC events – is the event featuring Brock Lesnar vs. Hong Man Choi and Royce Gracie in a rematch against Kazushi Sakuraba, set for June 2nd at the L.A. Coliseum in California.
The turmoil that started earlier in the day stemmed from reports that FEG had yet to secure a license from the California State Athletic Commission for their portion of the event, which is actually the pay-per-view portion of the event which features the aforementioned bouts. These reports were and are true, at present, FEG has not been granted a promoters license in California.
As explained by CSAC analyst Bill Douglas, “When we have a new promoter coming to California for the first time, large or small, they must go through a process of displaying financial statements that show they are not only able to pay the necessary licensing fees, etc. required by the state, but more importantly, that they are able to pay the fighters’ purses.”
In lieu of providing satisfactory financial statements, the promoter can instead secure a bond or issue an assignment of savings to ensure that the fighters’ purses are covered and that any other necessary fees are accounted for.
As of this morning, FEG had yet to provide the necessary financial documents for review, secure a bond, or issue an assignment of savings. At this late stage in the process, with Dynamite USA! scheduled to take place in just 11 days, red flags were going up all over the place.
“We’ve been advising FEG of this process for a couple of months,” said Douglas. And in fact, both Douglas and the Commission’s Executive Director Armando Garcia confirmed that the athletic commission and FEG held a 6-1/2 hour meeting in the initial stages of planning Dynamite USA! According to Garcia, “We’ve gone the mile and then some” to make sure they understood the process.
But despite running events in the U.S. in the past in Nevada, FEG was not the promoter there, so this is a whole new process for them to go through. Said Garcia, “This is FEG’s first license in the U.S., the Bellagio held the license for K-1 in Nevada.”
With total purses of Dynamite USA! reportedly nearing $2 million, it is understandable that California would want to be sure that FEG had all the necessary elements in place to follow through on their commitments.
Without any of the above financial procedures yet taking place by this morning, it is understandable that many of the parties involved were alarmed. But when MMAWeekly contacted Douglas this afternoon for comment, he verified that, “FEG’s financial statements just came through the fax and to my attention for review” a few minutes prior.
That’s not to say that everything is a done deal at this point. Even though the financial statements have arrived, they must go through Douglas and Garcia for review before a license can be granted. Stated Douglas, “FEG is not licensed as of right now, but I am very encouraged at this point. If you would have asked me the same thing this morning, I was not at all confident. But at this point I am very pleased.”
If there are no red flags or concerns with the statements “FEG could be approved for a license as soon as later today,” said Douglas, but the statements do have to be reviewed first. And then there is the issue of medical clearance for the fighters…
“At this point, Pro Elite is cleared [for their portion of the event] and Brock Lesnar has been cleared by the State,” informed Douglas.
As far as medical clearance, that will be taking place over the next week leading up to the event, assuming FEG’s license approval. “We have been very adamant from the beginning that all foreign fighters must be seen in the U.S. We will not be approving any foreign medicals.” Douglas continued, “That starts with Sakuraba. He is supposed to be here tomorrow.”
So at this point, despite earlier concerns, it appears that the process to ensure that Dynamite USA! takes place as planned on June 2nd is finally shifting into high gear.
According to a follow-up story by The Fight Network, after reviewing FEG’s financial documents, Douglas said that the paperwork they received was “not what we asked for.”
He also noted that if FEG does not deliver the appropriate financial information by the end of the week, it “is going to be a big problem.”