Japanese sports website Sponichi Annex has posted an interesting story regarding the future of the K-1 Grand Prix. According to Sponichi, starting in 2010 K-1 may move to holding the HW Grand Prix only every other year, with the years in between featuring regional qualifying tournaments. This plan would begin with just the regional shows in 2010, and the next full Grand Prix to be held in 2011. Sponichi’s information allegedly comes directly from K-1 Event Producer Tanigawa, who, even in his published comments, presents this as only his idea, and not yet a done deal.
For those unfamiliar with Japanese sports media, it is important to note that their reporting is notoriously unreliable, and so this should not be considered a fact until more confirmation is available. But as far as rumors go, it makes some sense. The GP was somewhat scaled down this year, with no US tournament, and the last two qualifying tournaments announced and taking place very late in the season. No real word ever came out on what happened to the US show, but the discussion is that K-1 is facing some financial troubles and looking to save costs. This also comes on the heels of a rumor that there were troubles in the K-1 front office between Tanigawa and K-1 founder Kazuyoshi Ishii, stemming from these same financial issues.
If this does turn out to be true, it would be decidedly unfortunate news, as the yearly Grand Prix is a big part of what makes K-1 unique. But again, until there is more on this story, it should only be considered a rumor. We’ll try to keep you updated on any future announcements.