RIZIN FF’s 16-man tournament just landed a pair of legendary names from the world of mixed martial arts.
Former Pride FC middleweight champion Wanderlei Silva and former Pride Grand Prix champion Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic join the tournament on Sept. 25 in Tokyo, a company official tells ESPN. The 16-man tournament is set to take place over the course of three separate days: Sept. 25, Dec. 29 and Dec. 31.
There is no word on who else will be featured in the tournament, though ESPN’s Brett Okamoto says the remaining fighters will be revealed soon.
Both Silva and “Crop Cop” are currently suspended by the Nevada Athletic Commission.
Filipovic is in the midst of a two-year ban from the sport in North America after admitting to the use of, but never actually testing positive for, human growth hormone in November 2015. Though the suspension would have prevented him from competing in North America or with the UFC, RIZIN officials tell ESPN he was granted his release from the UFC prior to signing on for the tournament.
Silva, who signed a contract with Bellator MMA in March, is not allowed to compete in North America until May 2017 for running from a random drug screening in 2014. Though he is part of the Bellator roster, the Viacom-owned promotion has long had cordial ties with the Japan-based company, often allowing some of its fighters to compete in RIZIN-promoted events.
“The Axe Murderer” will serve as one of four tournament competitors to receive a first-round bye. It is unclear when the second round takes place.