Tokyo, Japan – Six-figure, multi-year professional contracts will be offered to every karate competitor who wins a gold medal in this week’s Olympic karate contests, the Karate Combat organization announced today.
The six-figure contracts will be offered to all male and female competitors who win a gold medal in the Kumite (‘freestyle fighting’) category. Contracts will also be offered to select silver medalists, bronze medalists, and non-medalists who deliver outstanding performance.
“Muhammad Ali, Anthony Joshua, Oscar de la Hoya – there’s a long list of boxers who have won gold at the Olympics and gone on to become legends as professionals. We’ve also seen wrestlers like Henry Cejudo, Yoel Romero and judo players like Ronda Rousey transition into professional MMA,” said Adam Kovacs, President, Karate Combat.
“Karate fighters have never had that opportunity – until now. We want the elite karateka of Tokyo to know that their journey doesn’t end here – there’s a professional contract waiting for them if they want to take that next step.”
Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 marks the debut appearance of karate in the Summer Olympics. Contests begin tomorrow (Thursday) and conclude Saturday, with over 80 competitors from 37 countries participating.
Several of this week’s participants are already signed to Karate Combat, including Rafael Aghayev. Widely considered the best pound-for-pound karate fighter in the world, the Azerbaijani is odds-on favorite to win gold in the 75kg men’s division.
Karate Combat talent scouts are on-site in Tokyo and will begin making outreach to target athletes once final results are announced. Professional debuts could be made as early as Fall 2021 when the next cycle of Karate Combat events takes place
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.