I would be elated if Strikeforce brought over kickboxing, or vise versa.Over the past decade, Europe's It's Showtime has grown to become the clear-cut #2 worldwide kickboxing organization behind K-1. They've been extremely busy this year, with a number of strong cards, and look to keep that momentum going with their huge May 29 event at the Amsterdam ArenA, featuring Badr Hari, Melvin Manhoef, Daniel Ghita, and an all around ridiculous stacked line-up. We spoke with It's Showtime CEO and Founder Simon Rutz about what's next for the company. Always candid and full of info, Rutz gave us a lot to digest regarding their relationship with Strikeforce, his personal relationship with M-1 and Fedor's team, Giorgio Petrosyan's K-1 status, and of course, the ArenA show.
HKL: First things first, we have heard a very exciting rumor that I would love to get your comment on. Sources have indicated that It's Showtime may be partnering with Strikeforce in order to bring kickboxing to the US as part of Strikeforce shows. This would be a huge move for It's Showtime into the US market, and a great increase in kickboxing exposure here. Is this true? Can you give us any details about this?
SR: The relation between Strikeforce and IT'S SHOWTIME is good and of course sometimes we speak about the possibility to cooperate more than we do now. But Strikeforce and IT'S SHOWTIME are really busy at this moment with their own events, so it is something for the future. In the future Strikeforce wants to run shows in Europe, and they have asked me if I can help them with that. And of course that is not a problem.
If you do work with Strikeforce, that would mean you are on shows involving M-1, Vadim Finkelstein, and the management of Fedor Emelianenko. I know Fedor's team and your organization have a history together - how would you feel about working with them in Strikeforce?
I shall never work with Apy Echteld. So long as Echteld is involved with M-1, IT'S SHOWTIME shall never work with them. I never understand why Vadim Finkelstein works with this man. I have known Vadim for many, many years now, and I have never had a problem with him. But Apy Echteld is a different story. A few years ago, Echteld try to hire a hitman to kill a person I know very well. Apy Echteld is very bad for the sport, and I hope that he is soon in prison. IT'S SHOWTIME will work with Strikeforce, but not with M-1. I think the only reason why Strikeforce is working with M-1 is because of Fedor Emelianenko.