It is an interesting question, and one that I am eager to get an answer for. Now that the world’s largest kickboxing company has signed a deal to appear on SPIKETV in the United States, will the bigger sportsbooks start to create lines and take action on K-1? It is an interesting question. It will require the development of both a betting public and expert linemakers to make it happen, but the mainstream SPIKETV attention, combined with a very compelling roster may create an opportunity for a mushrooming of combat sports betting.
The deal with SPIKETV reportedly includes live events starting in 2013, but will have at least 4 big events this year that are streamed. To get a feel for K-1′s established international appeal, these events are scheduled for Athens, Tokyo, Los Angeles and New York.
K-1, despite a vibrant roster of high level talent, has never really established itself in the US market. This is certainly the strongest foray into the US they have made.
The big problem with K-1 over their recent history has been that tey recycle stars in their tournament format, and that there is not a great deal of upgrades or new stars that get developed. Peter Aerts, Jerome Lebanner and fighters that are plus 35 years old dominate the roster.
Another open question will be whether K-1 develops true weight classes, or continues to opt for a looser setting of heavyweights with occasional action in the lighter weights.
If K-1 is smart, they will embrace a system of weight classes to develop. Fighters such as Thailand’s Buakaw Pramuk are ready made stars, but a compelling system of competition for them is needed.
For another example of a smaller fighter, take a look at this video:
Though interesting, seeing Kaoklai in his weight class instead of in freak fights like the above has a lot of potential, K-1 will need to develop a lot of talent in multpiple weight classes to have a truly competitive league. If they do that, I will bet on it….