Karate Combat President, Ádám Kovács, is running the first full contact Karate league, and the promotion currently has 40 shows under its belt. Kovács, who is a highly decorated world champion karateka in his own right, sat down with Bloody Elbow to catch up. With finding new talent a major priority for any league, Ádám unveiled KC’s new KUMITE series for just that purpose. The show debuts tonight, August 10th on KC’s YouTube channel, and is scheduled to begin at 7:00pm ET.
It was also revealed that Karate Combat is departing from South Florida for their next show, KC 41, and are heading even further south to the Dominican Republic. KC is known for their elaborate sets, so it’ll be interesting to see what they’ll do for their Caribbean debut. Rounding out the interview, Kovács discusses the possibilities of seeing a rematch between former UFC champions, Luke Rockhold and Lyoto Machida, inside of the Karate Combat Pit.
Ádám Kovács interview video
Karateka turned Karate Combat President
- It’s not very often that the President of a fight promotion is an actual competitor, let alone a decorated champion such as yourself. What ways do you feel like your competition experience has helped you in running Karate Combat?
“That’s a great question, Eddie. I think I can think as a fighter, so I’ve been on both sides of the table. So you know, I think that’s a big difference because I know what we put our fighters, or what they have to go through. Like when entering the pit, or preparing for a fight, or even just negotiating a deal.”
“I’ve been on both sides, and I think that I’ve got empathy for the fighters because I’ve been there, done that. And although I retired 10 years ago exactly, back in 2013 from karate, since then I’ve been doing BJJ… I know that you practice BJJ, as well, so that’s why I bring it up, and I think it helps the fighters and I understand both sides.”
KC vibe check
- Karate Combat events seem to have this elegant undertone to the cards. There’s people dressed to the nines, Pit-side shoulder to shoulder with martial arts superstars, networking in an intimate setting. There just so happens to be world class fights going on at the same time. Can you speak on that model, and how important it is for KC to maintain that vibe?
“It is because we come from a lot of different spaces when it comes to the KC management, and the owners, and partners. And some of those guys are coming from Wall Street. So they’ve got a network over there. I’m coming from the fight world. I’ve got a network from there, and I think what we do really well is mixing different worlds. You know, business and fighting was always something which mixed really well.”
“… everybody’s a VIP, no matter if you bought a ticket for 50 bucks, or $500, you always feel that you are right there at the action. And I think it makes us unique, and you know when the sport grows there are some things which you can’t control. So I cannot promise that this will last forever, but you know in the last couple of live shows we did in Orlando and in Miami, we really kept it small, intimate, and whoever decided to come out, or were there, they left as a happy person.”
Talent search KUMITE style
- You have to keep the talent rolling in, so can you have an upcoming KUMITE series debuting August 10th on the Karate Combat youtube channel. What can we expect?
“This Thursday is the premiere of the first KUMITE. We had this idea of something of a combination of The Ultimate Fighter, the Contender Series, Cobra Kai, and you know like everything that people like. To put it together, but in the pit, and something which is a toned down version of our live shows…”
“We did something where we gave an opportunity for fighters to come and show who they are. We selected 14 fighters in three different weight classes. We are doing mini tournaments, so these guys are going to fight more than once, not in one day because we’re doing it an episodic way when we’re going to air this, but we did tape it in one day and they had to fight two or three times.”
“You know, we’ve got a great jury. Bus Rutten, and Samuel Erickson, and myself, you know you cannot go wrong with this trio. So I think it turned out well. We’ve got Ben Davis as our play by play. We’ve got Ross Lavine, our middle weight champion, as the color commentator.”
KUMITE episode 1 free stream
Karate Combat heading to the Caribbean
- What do you have in store for Karate Combat 41?
“So we’ve been not only focusing on a KUMITE in the last couple of weeks, but also focusing on the next chapter, or at least the next couple of months. We’ve been exploring new locations, and we’re very close to the official announcement. I think we had some soft announcements already on Twitter, so we’re looking at the middle of September for our next live show. The exact venue, I cannot disclose right now, but we’re going to the Dominican Republic. “
Luke Rockhold vs. Lyoto Machida in Karate Combat?
- How close are we to seeing Rockhold vs Machida in Karate Combat?
“Yeah, I mean I’d like to make it. This was never a secret. How close we are? We’ll see. We’ll see, man. We have to get out with the KUMITE. Now we’re focused on that, and then the next couple of events. We’re friends with Luke, friends with Lyoto. We’re always talking, you know, like, what would make the most sense. If that exact fight happens or not? I don’t know right now, but something in the near future will blow everyone’s mind.”
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