Kickboxing Lives in Hope
Kickboxing is a martial art which is respected among people all over the world. However, the history of kickboxing is not set in stone(A History of Kickboxing). The sport of kickboxing was originated in Japan, but the rules and discipline of the fight were almost the same as Muay Thai, which is the national sport of Thailand. Many people in Thailand had rejected the movement, but Japanese people did not stop using the word of kickboxing to represent the martial art of Muay Thai. On the other side, after about ten years in the United States, the media could not support kickboxing because of the mixed feelings between the different ring oriented martial arts disciplines. Kickboxing is very similar compared to these other styles of martial arts such as boxing, muay thai, and full contact karate. Kickboxing allows punches and kicks into the legs, boxing allows only punches, Muay Thai follows several sets rules allowing punches, kicks and knee attacks, also allowing the use of elbows as weapons, and full contact karate only allows kicks above the waist (A History of Kickboxing). Since the Japanese rephrased Muay Thai to kickboxing, there has been confusion over the name of kickboxing.
Moreover, kickboxing is a dangerous martial art. There are several kickboxing fighters passed away after their fight because of having low levels of safety disciplines and rules. In China, the poor college student passed away after a week from the fight. His name is Ming, who's family is poor. He decided to fight for 240 yuan ($34) because of the poor against well experienced kickboxing fighter, whose record is 11wins and 0 losses. However, Ming had practiced for only a month before the fight (Linder). In Southampton, United Kingdom, the female amateur kickboxing fighter passed away after the fight (Figg). This event promoter covered safety of the event, but the accident of death in the ring happened. The last example of death in the kickboxing fight happened in Wisconsin, United States. The 24 years old man, who debuted in amature fight and passed away after getting knocked out. The problem is that the ringside doctor was distracted on his phone instead of being focused on the fight (Diedrich). Furthermore, the referee continued the fight even though the fighter could not get a fight stance. These death accidents will happen more if kickboxing organization can not create the stricted safety discipline of the fight.
On the other hand, the history of developed MMA promotion UFC gives the hope for kickboxing as a same category of fighting sports. Even though UFC got stuck in the financial and the criticism from the media about the discipline and moral of MMA, UFC has become one of the major sports in the United States. In addition, they stated that its mission is to"help promote the sport of MMA and evolve into a major world sport (Serigu)." Also FIFA, The Fédération Internationale de Football Association, the biggest sport organization, provides the hope to organize kickboxing. The issues of kickboxing is the confusing misinformation, the unsafe discipline of event and the financial part of the organization. To provide the joy and the hope for people who enjoy the sport of kickboxing, the kickboxing organizations should make safe strict disciplines, make the world championship, and manage the financial part of organization.
First of all, the strict safety rules are needed for the kickboxing event to protect fighter's life. There are several death accidents in the kickboxing ring because of not having strict safety disciplines. Kickboxing is not like a ball game, such as soccer, and it is not such a sprint race, such as 100 meter-dash. Soccer players kick a ball to get a goal; 100 meter-dash sprinters just sprint to break a record. However, kickboxing fighters directly kick and punch to damage the opponent. This huge difference makes people avoid watching kickboxing.
However, there are also the issues for health of kickboxing fighter. Some old kickboxing champions passed away at a young age. They had suffered from brain damage due to the fight. For example, Ramon Dekkers, who was a legendary Ducth kickboxing fighter, collapsed in a tunnel after feeling light headed and never regained consciousness again. The final cause of death was heart attack (Johnston). Also, the legendary kickboxing heavyweight champion, Mike Bernardo, died, suicided suspect at the age of 42 in his home town Cape Town, South Africa (Fighters Only). It is already mentioned in the second paragraph for the death accident of kickboxing fight. Therefore, if kickboxing organization cannot make the safe restricted rules, young age of death of old kickboxing fighters and the number of death accidents will increase.
On the other side, MMA promotion UFC could solve the problem of health for fighters and finally developed to the biggest MMA promotion. There are huge differences of history between MMA and kickboxing. Kickboxing, which is the origin from Muay Thai, started in early 1960 in Japan. Kickboxing rules were almost the same as Muay Thai rule; however, the traditional disciplines were different, such as the time interval between the round, which is two minutes for Muay Thai and one minute for kickboxing between each round. Another difference is that in Muay Thai Wai khru ram muay, is a ritual performed by participants before fighting in Muay Thai competitions. On the other hand, UFC started with TV show to decide who is the strongest man in the world (Stan). The huge difference between kickboxing and MMA was that what they had done when their situation got financially unstable. In 1993, UFC started and got many viewers, but they were banned to promote the MMA event in many states because of the barbaric rules of MMA (Voinea). At the time they recreated the rule to adapt the states organization. After some years, they could restart to promote MMA in almost all of the states in the U.S. Now that UFC promote event every weekend all over the world, not only in the U. S. They finally decided to its own mission statement "help promote the sport of MMA evolve into a major world sport (Stan)". However, K-1, the biggest kickboxing promotion, could not reorganize its own promotion when they were lacking funds. In 1993, K-1 started the event to make the strongest man of standing martial arts, such as karate, kickboxing, kung fu and taekwondo. K-1 skyrocketed and became the biggest promotion of kickboxing. However, the founder of K-1, Kazoyoshi Ishii was moved because of tax evasion in 2002 (The Japan Times). After that happened, Sadaharu Tanikawa, who is ex-chief editor of martial arts magazine, became a producer of K-1. In contrast to the UFC, the producer made the K-1 event for media. According to his book, Apologize, he said that how media works for the event was important(Tanikawa) . As a result, K-1 went bankrupt in 2012 (Holland). This background affected the health discipline of both the biggest MMA promotion UFC and the biggest kickboxing promotion K-1.
UFC made a partnership agreement with USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency), for doping on all UFC fighters in 2013 (Stan). Also, UFC built UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas to develop fighter's well-being and heath approaching by science. UFC is the biggest MMA promotion without doubt, but not only working for their own promotion they are trying to develop the sport of MMA. UFC is same category of martial arts promotion; however, there are no kickboxing organizations have the anti doping facility. If kickboxing organizations can not work for fighter's well-being and health, the number of accidents will increase. And finally, people might not watch the sport of kickboxing. To develop kickboxing, each kickboxing organization should build the strict disciplines and work to create well-being and health for kickboxing fighter.
Second of all, kickboxing organization should create the championship in each division including all fighters from all promotions. In kickboxing, there are many organizations in the world, but also there are many kickboxing promotions. Each promotion follows own rules which made based on the kickboxing rules. The organizations work to award the champion, but the problem is that there are no united organizations. Therefor, there are more than ten champions in each division. It will be clear who is the best in kickboxing if the kickboxing organization can make the event for the championship.
FIFA World Cup has been awarded every four years to make the best soccer national team. To determine which teams qualify for the tournament, the national team takes the match. Only 32 national teams can compete in the final tournament for the title. Because of organizing the sport of soccer by FIFA, FIFA World Cup became one of the biggest sports events. The greatness of awarding FIFA World Cup is that FIFA can make which soccer team is the best in the world. Moreover, UFC makes the event almost every week. UFC could promote the biggest platform for MMA and create the man who is the strongest in MMA. If kickboxing can not make the platform which creates who is the best kickboxing fighter, people will offer the answer to the question: who is the strongest in kickboxing?. Finally, they will not make time to watch kickboxing fight, if kickboxing organization cannot answer the question. To avoid leaving people from kickboxing, kickboxing organization should make the championship, which is included all promotions and all organizations.
Last but not least, the business management strategies is needed for kickboxing promotion because the biggest kickboxing promotion K-1 took the hope away from kickboxing fighters by stopped continuing the event. Since1993, K-1 has started kickboxing event. The event grew up to the biggest martial arts event around 2000 (Ben). Nobody could anticipate that K-1 could not promote the event between the boom of K-1. Some K-1 fighters claimed that they had not been paid for the fight in the event of K-1 in 2011. The financial problems were severe, and finally K-1 lost the right of K-1. If K-1 could financially manage the event of K-1, the kickboxing fighter could continue the fight in K-1.
According to the author of Sport in Society, Chappelet, "Since Sport is based on ethics and competition on fair play, the governance if sport must comply with the highest standards in terms of transparency, democracy and accountability" (Chapplet). There are some suggestions that good sports organization should have transparency, accountability, democracy, social responsibility, equity, effectiveness and efficiency (Chapplet). Even though K-1 became the biggest kickboxing event, K-1 could not organize the promotion and the event with these strategies.
On the other hand, UFC could organize their event by carrying out the business management strategies. In terms of business, UFC has been the fastest growing sports entity in the U.S and had to adapt to certain rigors of the professional sport (Stan). UFC strategic managements were the branding of sports and idea, alignment to international safety and anti-doping standards, increase the number of events per year, and aligning company acitivis. MMA fighters have to adapt to all situations of MMA. For example, boxing fighters do not have to worry about taking down, Ju-Jutsu fighters do not have to worry about hitting punch and kick on body and face, but MMA fighters do. This is why UFC became the platform of answering the question of who's the strongest man or woman alive.
To become the international sports, UFC make partnership with USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency), which has been providing the doping tests for more than 40% of the fighters participating in UFC since2013 (Stan). Because of USADA, UFC can protect the fighters from death accidents On the other side, K-1 could not manage the fighter and not have partnership with any anti-doping organizations. The strategic management of UFC helps create an infrastructure which seek globally expanding of UFC rather than making short term profit (Stan). As a result, K-1 lost the right of taking ownership of event, but UFC became the biggest martial arts promotion.
In conclusion, organizations of sport change over and over to make the sport for the better, but no one knows the future. Some people dislike the martial arts because of violence. For example, Senator John McCain often referred MMA fight as human cockfighting, and finally New York Governor banned the sport in 1997 (Banks). Also, many countries are reluctant to what they consider as being the martial arts promotion of violence in their society. However, UFC regulated the sport of MMA by creating new rules, New York States finally assembly ends ban on professional MMA bout in 2013(Graham). And now that MMA was recognized as the major sports in the U.S.
Kickboxing organization should learn from MMA history. There are those who meet kickboxing even though people criticise the sport of kickboxing as barbarism or violence. The sport of kickboxing will survive in human society no matter what happens. Although the famous kickboxing fighter dies, or the biggest kickboxing promotion goes bankrupt, people will do kickboxing. If kickboxing promoters can learn from UFC strategic management, the most important part is the strategic implementation (Stan). They have the possibility to change the world for the better by kickboxing unless they have the hope for kickboxing.