September 2011 backstage in Tokyo Japan the other picture with Scott is in 2006 in Las Vegas (see below) The first time I met Scott Coker was in May 2001 in Las Vegas at a K-1 qualification tournament at the Mirage Casino , Maurice Smith became the winner.
I organized with Oriental Fight promotions the Night of the Shock with Maurice Smith vs Peter Aerts in Amsterdam that was 1993 and Aerts won that fight by a high kick Ko.
The Fight Game Business is a small world, pretty much everybody in this industry has a fighting history in the fight business, either they were competitors themselves or have been involved in the promotion of Fight Sports. The fighting genes runs in the family, the Gracie family, the son of Kickboxing World Champion Nieky Holzken = Geraldo Holzken, the son of World Champion Boxing Chris Eubanks = Chris Eubank. Jr. The daughter of boxing champion Mohammed Ali is Laila Ali who became a professional boxer herself, the list goes on.
The same goes for promoters and managers who have been active in this business, why I choose the title of this article is because of several reasons, karma, experience, coincidence, faith, what makes the world goes around!
In my early days as a manager I had the great privilege of managing the incredible MMA fighter Igor Vovchanchin from the Ukraine and Kickboxer, Peter Aerts from Holland. I was young and inexperienced in the fight game business but I rolled into the profession because of my video and TV business.
Karma,Rule or Law of Attraction (from my upcoming book)?
I will start with Igor Vovchanchin, I promoted many fights with Igor around the world, made a highlight tape and send it to Pride FC and K-1. I was excited as this young fighter from the Ukraine was the next big thing in the fight business, so was my introduction on the way fight promoters conduct their business. I was informed that Pride FC was not interested. K-1 was interested and they came with an offer, I believed it was 40K for a one fight deal, I refused and K-1 eventually went up to 70K for this fight.
Together with Frederico Lapenda I produced 9 instruction videos with Igor Vovchanchin and a Highlight Video
Now we should remember at that time Ernesto Hoost and Peter Aerts were gods in Japan. They won tournaments and became K-1 stars, but their fight purse was much lower then what I negotiated for Igor (who never fought in K-1 before), I did not know that at that time. But I would get a quick education lesson of how to not trust anybody in the fight business at that time. I told the K-1 that 70K was ok, but for an 8-fight deal, I was smart enough to understand that Mr Isshi wanted to defeat and humiliate my new star fighter, which I built together with Frederico Lapenda and George Kobylyansky making him champion of the Absolute Fight Championship and World Vale Tudo Chhampionships!
K-1 said we only would like to offer a one fight deal, so I said ok, one fight deal 500K or 8 fights for 70K per fight. I understood that K-1 wanted to put my champion which I managed against Ernesto Hoost or Peter Aerts to show K-1 fighters were the strongest in the world (understandable from his side, as Mr. Isshi was the promoter of K-1). Now Igor was an MMA fighter and quite short, so if I had to sell his image being destroyed by some of my fellow Dutch fighters a multiple fight deal was the only thing which made sense. This way they had to promote Igor as well and put him against opponents he could beat. I then said ok, I can accept a one fight deal, but you need to guarantee it will not be Aerts or Hoost, the answer never came.
Instead the following thing happened:
My negotiations with K-1 came to a halt, I was informed that through Kawasaki (booker for international talent in Japan) and a blonde girl who was basically a translator that Igor Vovchanchin signed a contract with Pride FC. I was furious, I mean I promoted all these fights, stuck my neck out, did the matchmaking, the production, the promotion world-wide, made this guy a tournament champion, gave him a world stage to boost his image and popularity, made 9 tape instruction video series with Igor and a highlight tape with the best knockouts, gave him the nick name “Ice Cold” edited his highlight tape from my footage which I sent to Dreamstage/PrideFC and now some woman just took all that away. Igor was the dream fighter for the Pride FC promoters, he would accept every fight against anybody for peanuts.
My Russian partner George Kobyliansky was side-lined and the blonde girl was approached through Pride FC booker Kawasaki. They made the blonde girl important by only rewarding her with an offer from Pride FC (a technique used by many promoters in the future when they did not like the management) Igor became a star in Pride FC and I received not a penny, but a speed lesson in management.
We Meet Again!
I became the manager of Golden Glory, in the beginning the Japanese did not know I was behind this management, but after a year I started to travel to Japan as well and they now knew they had to deal with me. In the beginning K-1 and Pride Fc worked together in some cases they exchanged fighters, surely, I was not surprised that Igor Vovchanchin is still holding the longest streak in being undefeated in MMA and he became the finalist of the PrideFC Open weight category!
Ernesto Hoost vs Igor Vochanchin July 18th 1999
It did not come as a surprise to me that PrideFc agreed (probably got 500K or exchanged for another fighter) with K-1 to borrow Igor to fight nobody else then Ernesto Hoost, surprise surprise! I felt bad for Igor, I knew what was coming, his legs were kicked into a bloody raw meat mess and I felt bad for Igor I never blamed him for anything, he did not know), Hoost wins by three rule knock down by low kicks (I must have been Nostrabonus at that time).
Golden Glory fighter Heath Herring was doing really well and so did Alistair Overeem in Pride FC, Heath Herring’s contract was ending and I had to re-negotiate his contract, he had one more fight to go on his contract his opponent was Igor Vovchanchin. It’s February 24th 2002 and Heath wins the fight by decision, I was smiling standing in front of the door of the Dreamstage office Hilton Hotel Room.
I entered the room and before anybody could say a word, I said to Sakakibara, do you remember how I lost Igor’s management? I come to present the bill and smiled. But Sakakibara kept things professional and we agreed on a new contract, to make the Karma circle complete on June 26 th 2005 Alistair Overeem submits Igor Vochanchin in round one, Golden Glory made his mark! Sakakibara did not burn any bridges, surely more difficulties came in the future, but we always stayed connected.
The best “revenge” is to just keep winning, Semmy Schilt had three wins in Pride FC. It is now April 21th 2002 and the Pride FC staff is aksing me if I would accept a Kickboxing fight with Semmy Schilt against Mushashi in K-1. I did not have to think long about the offer, I agreed if the fight purse was the same as his agreement in Pirde.
The deal was made and Semmy Schilt won against Mushashi, his first fight in K-1. August 28th 2002 Semmy’s second fight was in Shockwave before the record sold out stadium approx. 80.000 people he fought multiple K-1 GP champion Ernesto Hoost ( 3 years after Hoost won from Igor Vochanchin), the judges gave the fight a draw, but everybody knew Semmy won each round, his career in K-1 just became real! The little Hoost dance victory from Semmy Schilt was epic and for sure one of the highlights of Semmy’s career!
I went through a similar process with Peter Aerts and later with promoters like the UFC and Strikeforce.
The details are in my book, again I learned how to work with all the promoters in the business, this was a cut throat business and to be honest as I was a promoter myself, I would go to great lengths to protect the business and manage the fighters. Learn from my previous experiences and try to improve my position as a manager and promoter.
Scott Coker was a K-1 promoter in the US!
Scott Cocker is another promoter who has a lot of experience and has been a fast learner, I met Scott a few times in Japan and later as a promoter of K-1 in Las Vegas. By them Scott realized he would bump into me frequently as my Team Golden Glory was the supplier of very talented kickboxers in K-1. Stefan Leko won the K-1 Qualification Tournament in Vegas twice. Chalid Arab from Golden Glory also won the Vegas K-1 Gp 8-man qualification tournament.
Scott started Strikeforce and he promoted great shows, it is with the help of several people that Scott actually became a treat for the UFC. I supplied Kharitonov and Alistair Overeem, Marloes Coenen, Vadim from team Red Devil / M-1 came with Fedor Emelianenko , by now this tournament included Werdrum and Big Foot as well and it got a huge buzz in the US. At one point I suggested to Scott to work together with Dream, K-1 in Japan, Glory World Series and Golden Glory to create a fist against the UFC. The surprise came when the announcement was made that Scott sold Strikeforce to the UFC. I felt horrible and used, but Scott explained to me later that this was a decision the investors made turning away the blame, I learned my lesson in the past and tried to stay cool (which was extremely difficult). Siyar Bahadurzada lost his cool about Scott Cocker and called him names in the press, which was totally unprofessional. I tried to repair the relationship between Scott and Siyar but the damage was done, I have to admit and admire that Scott stayed professional and did not scream or whine in the press.
Golden Glory fighters Chalid Arab and Stefan Leko winning the Vegas K-1 GP’s with Cor Hemmers Bas Boon and Scott Coker, Stefan Leko won the tournament in 2002 and 2006!
Scott could have made his points in the press and defend his situation, but he did not and that makes him a smart promoter. It did not come as a surprise to me he became CEO of Bellator after his non compete was over with the UFC. I have a feeling I will meet him again in the near future. The fight business is a small world and it’s better to not burn bridges. The deal Scott made was not bad for the former Strikeforce fighters, Daniel Cormier, Nick Diaz, Ronda Rousey and others, they were all able to become successful in the UFC. I would also be a hypocrite to convict Scott Cocker for his decision (sure at the time I felt betrayed). I later sold Golden Glory and Glory World Series and my fight library to GSI in a similar way.
Ray Sefo is a great guy and he deserves all the credit for being an entrepreneur after his fighting career!
Ray Sefo the former Kickboxing World Champion and K-1 star is now President of Fighters Operations at the Professional Fight League Organisation the PFL that recently received a 28 million $ investment (former WSOF). They announced their new team of commentators who do not need to have an introduction almost all where active in the Fight Game Business for decades: Randy Couture, Bas Rutten, Yves Rutten, Yves Edwards, Caroline Pearce and Todd Harris.
I will soon become a father again and I will call my son Kato Boon (on my brothers’ side there is already a Bruce Boon). I am convinced he will take after me and become a great promoter in the fight sports or a successful fighter himself. However, If he decides to become a soccer player or hedge funds manager he has my blessing as well, I will try to teach him to care about fellow human beings and to be a good person. I am based now in Thailand and have called it home for over a decade and I can tell you, KARMA IS REAL!
Making enemies and destroying something is easy. Having long term friends and business relationships is precious.
Quote Bas Boon: The boomerang effect of bad feelings is only one negative thought away! Good karma comes to those who have positive thoughts and genuine actions!
(C) Bas Boon www.basboon.com