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Old 09-24-2012, 04:07 PM   #1
Hufusopem

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*NEW* Dong Hyun Kim interview: Criticizes UFC sponsorship policy + State of Asian MMA

REFERENCE- http://mmaplanet.jp/archives/1721257.html



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Your comments on the UFC’s policy on fighters pay and sponsorship has become a huge issue within the Japanese MMA fan community.

Quote:
Well, I made those comments after a lot of thought and self-reflection. For Asian fighters we basically only have 4 to 5 days to adjust to a different culture and jetlag before we fight. On top of this disadvantage is that our financial situation and how much our fight money is taxed are completely different from American fighters.

Of course the rules regarding sponsorship are the same with all fighters. But I cannot accept the fact that on top of those financial differences, sponsors have to pay the UFC fifty thousand dollars just to have the opportunity to sponsor a fighter.

Also because the Korean market is different from the American market, I need to pay a lot of financial advisers to deal with those intricate business issues to make sure everyone gets the right cut of money. In another words, I basically have to give up on local Korean sponsors not only because it’s so expensive but because of all the complicated paperwork.

When I first started fighting in the UFC, if it wasn’t for the support of friends and family I would not have been able to afford to fight in the UFC.
How do you feel the UFC can improve in this aspect?
Quote:
You can say that the UFC has made MMA popular in America and that they have invested a lot in MMA. But what people have to understand is that for the American MMA market to succeed they need American fighters.

Even if a popular Korean fighter is fighting on PPV, he is going to be paid the lowest sponsorship money by American companies because the fighter is not nearly as marketable in America compared to an American fighter. It is almost impossible for foreign fighters to compete against American fighters for American sponsors .

That is why I believe the UFC has to give more leeway for local Asian sponsors to sponsor Asian fighters. That has been my thought from the start.
But out of all the Korean fighters, you are making the most money.

Quote:
Yes, that is true. I am very thankful for the UFC and I am very content with my pay. So to be honest maybe I am not the fighter who should be complaining.

But I am thinking about the young Korean fighters and other Asian fighters who will eventually compete in the UFC. I feel responsibility as an Asian UFC veteran to improve, even if it’s just a little, the financial environment for these fighters.
What do you think of the current MMA environment in Japan and Korea?

Quote:
In Korea the UFC is steadily gaining popularity. You can say there is a change in the air in regards to MMA in Korea; a lot of young fighters are dedicating their lives to the sport with the hope, one day they fight in the UFC or Korean promotions like ROAD FC. While in Japan after the death of PRIDE and other major organizations it seems they are not many young people willing to become professional mixed marital artist. I think the MMA scene is in a critical state in Japan.

I am personally very worried about the situation of MMA in Japan. I believe now is the time for both Japan and Korea to cooperate together to develop fighters that can compete with top foreign fighters.

You say that cooperation between Korean and Japan is best for the future of MMA, but we cannot disregard the history between Japan and Korea, and probably the biggest rivalry in Asia. I worry whether full cooperation is possible.


Quote:
Well, TEAM MAD and I do not have a problem with having Japanese fighters training here. My thought is that we may be from different countries but in the end we are united by our love of Mixed Martial Arts, so why not win together. I believe the best thing for both countries is an environment where Japanese fighters can train in Korean camps and Korean fighters can also go to Japan to train.
If the Korean gyms can permit that I believe it will be a great learning experience for young Japanese fighters to train in Korea and vice versa.

Quote:
Exactly. I do not know about the other Korean gyms, but TEAM MAD will accept any Japanese fighter with open arms. Even from the start of this gym we cooperated and trained with a lot of Japanese gyms. I know this may sound ominous, but right now TEAM MAD and its fighters are at the highest international level and I believe a lot of Japanese fighters can learn and improve from training with us.

I believe Korean MMA has now improved leaps and bounds, and at its current level even the top Japanese fighter can learn a lot from Korean MMA.
Are you OK with Japanese fighters coming who are the same weight class as you?

Quote:
Yes, I already once asked K Taro Nakamura to come to Korea to train with my team and me. Doesn’t Yushin Okami still train in Team Quest with Chael Sonnen?
I am not sure but I do know he has special permission to train there before his fights?
Quote:
Of course, Okami is also looking for training partners bigger than himself. I also want to train with Yushin Okami again. When I was training in Japan at the start of my career there used to be a lot of fighters bigger than me at the gyms, but I have heard recently the fighters are usually of smaller stature.
That is probably an indication of the Japanese MMA scene after PRIDE shut its doors.

Quote:
Well, right now in the MMA world weight cutting is so important that I believe even bigger fighters internationally will be fighting at much smaller weight classes. But at the same time I believe it is better for fighters to train with opponents from all different weight classes.

I feel fighters still miss PRIDE. Even when I was at ROAD FC watching Minowaman fight, TEAM MAD coach Yang Kim Sung said to me “There is definitely some kind of Romance in this type of Asian organization”. You also said your dream was to fight in PRIDE.


Quote:
Of course, for Korean fighters PRIDE was the best organization. I don’t know why but I feel fighters look cooler when they fight in PRIDE.
Talk about your loss to Demian Maia and your next fight with Paulo Thiago at UFC MACAU.

Quote:
I went into the Demian Maia fight with a nagging rib injury, but it wasn’t significant enough to drop out the fight. While he had me clinched on the fence I started to have incredibly painful muscle spasms in my rib, but I tried to fight through it. But eventually Maia managed to get me to the floor, when inadvertently one of his elbows pushed into my ribs. Which is when I verbally submitted because I was in so much pain I could not move and thought I had broken my ribs. It was a very weird fight to say the least.

With regards to Paulo Thiago, he has obviously researched my fighting style and how I like to fight, so I already know how he is going to approach me in this fight. So I want to fight to his strength and overpower his strengths.

I am training really hard for this fight and with a dominant win I hope to help progress the reputation of all Asian fighters.

Thank you for the interview.

Quote:
Thank You.


Last edited by Hufusopem; 10-01-2012 at 05:34 PM.
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Old 09-24-2012, 04:24 PM   #2
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Very classy, very cool.

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Old 09-24-2012, 04:27 PM   #3
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DHK is a classy dude, especially regarding the Japanese and Korean rivalry. Know there's a lot of bad blood, so cool that he's level headed enough to let it go.

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Old 09-24-2012, 04:29 PM   #4
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Hell yeah, Dong! Even after all these years Pride still lives! Pride never die! If the UFC went down today, everyone would forget about it in a week... well, maybe not everyone, but I would.

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Old 09-24-2012, 04:30 PM   #5
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he always gives great interviews, very well educated and insightful.

more asians in the ufc, the better

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Old 09-24-2012, 04:32 PM   #6
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Dana gunna be mad


And I agree its really fucked up the UFC takes such a large chunk of cash out of the fighters pocket because they want a percentage of the sponsorship money

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Old 09-24-2012, 04:35 PM   #7
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I agree with him big time in regards to the sponsorship dollars companies have to pay.

Remember that isn't a one time fee, that is a yearly fee of 50k, and that doesn't even cover Strikeforce, that's another 25 if paid at the same time, or 35 if not.

That kills fighters sponsorship opportunities...

It's funny but without the help of sponsors for that last 10+ years the MMA world would never have approached being able to charge sponsors like this, so it's just a shame.

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Old 09-24-2012, 04:46 PM   #8
Hufusopem

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yeah its also messed up because obviously American companies aren't going to pay the korean fighters a lot of money

knowing the Korean viewers based in Korea aren't going to buy those American products

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Old 09-24-2012, 04:48 PM   #9
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Zuffa takes quite a lot of the sponsorship money and for fighters from countries with
only a few fighters, the current system is unfair and needs to be changed.
However, the 50k payment is quite useful in a sense that it is a barrier to entry and
helps fighters to not get sponsors that do not pay them. To not completely fuck small
companies or fighters that cannot get good sponsors under the current system,
they should lower the fee.
Dana of course likes to brag about how he cares about the fighters but in the end a
lower fee would result in less money for him and Lorenzo which means that in the future,
only very good fighters from countries with a small MMA base can
make it into the UFC unless they train elsewhere.

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Old 09-24-2012, 06:02 PM   #10
Hufusopem

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RainerCallmund View Post
Zuffa takes quite a lot of the sponsorship money and for fighters from countries with
only a few fighters, the current system is unfair and needs to be changed.
However, the 50k payment is quite useful in a sense that it is a barrier to entry and
helps fighters to not get sponsors that do not pay them. To not completely fuck small
companies or fighters that cannot get good sponsors under the current system,
they should lower the fee.
Dana of course likes to brag about how he cares about the fighters but in the end a
lower fee would result in less money for him and Lorenzo which means that in the future,
only very good fighters from countries with a small MMA base can
make it into the UFC unless they train elsewhere.
yup it makes it really hard for international fighters to compete

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