Kyoji Horiguchi who is both the bantamweight champion for Bellator MMA and Rizin Fighting Federation champion (RIZIN) has pulled out of his RIZIN title defense bout that was set for New Year’s Eve in Japan. A torn ACL has put the double champ out of commission and while the surgery to repair the injury has already been done, a press release from RIZIN stated he would be “out of competition for 10 months.”
RIZIN President Nobuyuki Sakakibara said, “Injuries happen and this is what we have to deal with on a regular basis. We will work hard to take this situation and turn it into a positive; we believe that the fighters who look to stand up to these types of occasions will leave a special impression.” The press release also stated that because of the time Horiguchi will need to recover, the champion asked to revoke his status as RIZIN Champion and return the belt.
What this means for Bellator’s bantamweight title seems to be still up in the air. If anything positive can come out of this situation, it could come from the Bellator side. At the time of this post, how that title situation is being handled has yet to be addressed. If ever there were a case to hold another Grand Prix, this could certainly be the one.
I am sorry. I am sorry to Kai Asakura, I am sorry to all the fans. I cannot describe how I feel in words.Kyoji Horiguchi
As for Horiguchi, he sent a statement to RIZIN that was included in the press release, which he gave details on his injury and where he is at in his recovery. “I am terribly sorry,” he said and added, “I have inured myself and have just had surgery.” As to when the injury occurred the statement read; “I started to train again in October but failed to realize how much wear and tear my body has obtained. And my ligament in my knee snapped. This was all because I took my body’s warnings lightly.”
Horiguchi was supposed to face Kai Asakura whom he faced in a non-title bout and lost in the first round last August. This time would have been for the title but with his withdrawal, RIZIN said in the press release that they would soon release details on what this means for Asakura and what they will be doing about their bantamweight title situation.
What do you think Bellator will do on their end?