PUJI Capital is conducting an internal review of Fighting and Entertainment Group's (FEG) assets and liabilities in advance of a push to attract investors to the struggling fight promotion.
"The actions they're taking are similar to an audit," FEG's U.S. representative, Mike Kogan, told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) on Monday.
Kogan said the Japanese investment bank hopes to raise $230 million for FEG, which operates MMA's DREAM promotion and the K-1 kickboxing organization, over the next five years. But with the company's current financial condition, that timeline may need to be shortened.
More uncertainty arose this past week with reports that FEG had canceled DREAM.17, an event planned for Oct. 25 in South Korea.
Kogan, though, said that the event was taken off the table earlier this year when DREAM.14, originally scheduled for April 24 in Seoul, was scratched due to the absence of a television broadcast deal in the country.
"Basically, it's very simple; we don't have any Korean stars – nobody who's enough to attract super strong ticket sales," he said. "So what's the point of going into Korea?"
DREAM.14 subsequently was rescheduled for May 29 and featured a headliner between Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz and veteran Hayato Sakurai. It took place in DREAM's usual home of Saitama, Japan.
Meanwhile, Kogan said DREAM officials are keeping operations lean for the rest of the year while PUJI prepares to shake the money tree. The promotion has two events on its schedule before year's end: DREAM.16, which takes place Sept. 25 in Nagoya, Japan; and Dynamite!! 2010 on New Year's Eve, presumably in Saitama. Additionally, the 2010 K-1 Grand Prix continues with its "Final 16" event on Oct. 2 in Seoul.
But Kogan admitted FEG's future is grim if the Japanese investment bank does not make headway by the beginning of next year.
"Are you asking me if we're going to be in business after Dynamite? I don't know," he said. "It's very difficult. Obviously, we're short on revenues, and we need to – besides restructuring – we need to be able to find new sources of revenue.
"You need money to make money, so to speak. I don't sit in on the financial meetings. But it's very challenging.
"We need investment money. That's the bottom line."
He sounded cautiously optimistic about FEG's viability.
"I know that there are various companies that PUJI has already spoken to that have shown tremendous interest, and there's been ongoing conversations," he said. "There have been a few near misses where we were almost heavily invested (in) by some companies over the years. I think there's interest, but I don't know 100 percent what's going on."
Kogan, who once ran a computer-hardware company before the dot-com boom and joined up with FEG for 2007's K-1 Dynamite!! USA event, said those who criticized the fight promotion's course are missing the bigger picture.
"FEG is a complicated company and machine that comes together by a lot of different pieces coming together, and the biggest piece of it is that we'll never understand is the way that Japanese culture works, and the way they do things," he said. "Where I have no problem telling somebody to go [expletive] themselves, they wouldn't, and (they) end up spending money on something we really shouldn't be. You know what I mean? It's just a different culture. They don't operate necessarily how we do. That's just my opinion."
Whether FEG continues to be viable is yet to be determined. Kogan is resolved either way.
"If this is our last year, then I need to go look for another job," he said.