Mirko Cro Cop, Wanderlei Silva to compete in open-weight tournament for Rizin Fighting Federation in Japan

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Mirko Cro Cop

Japan’s Rizin Fighting Federation cares not for USADA or commission bans, as both Mirko Cro Cop and Wanderlei Silva will take part in an open weight tournament coming to the organization this fall and winter.

The 16-man tournament will happen in three stages, with a first round beginning on Sunday, Sept. 25 in Tokyo, with the quarterfinals and semifinals happening on Dec. 29 and the finals happening on Dec. 31.

A fight between Baruto and Kazuyuki Fujita has been announced for the opening round on Sept. 25, with Wanderlei Silva getting a bye until the Dec. 29 quarterfinals. Cro Cop’s spot is likely to be in the bye as well, though that wasn’t entirely clear in Rizin’s announcement.

Cro Cop retired after receiving a sanction from USADA following his admission of HGH use last fall. He’s now coming out of retirement to take part in this tournament, which will not be overseen by any regulatory body. Silva, meanwhile, will be returning to action before the conclusion of a three year suspension from the Nevada Athletic Commission.

In other fights announce for Sept. 25, UFC vet Daron Cruickshank will take on kickboxer Andy Souwer who is making his second MMA appearance, while women’s light heavyweight Gabi Garcia will also be in action.

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