MMA legends, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic and Wanderlei Silva are heading back to Japan to compete in RIZIN FF’s 16-man openweight tournament, which begins Sept. 25 in Tokyo according to reports from ESPN.
Both Cro Cop and Silva have an extensive and successful history competing in Japan under the PRIDE FC banner where Cro Cop was the former PRIDE Grand Prix champion while Silva, the former PRIDE middleweight champion.
Cro Cop recently retired from his UFC career when he was suspended by the United States Anti-Doping Agency for two years following his admission of using human growth hormones. The suspension only applies to the United States and Cro Cop can compete overseas. ESPN also reports he successfully asked for his release from his UFC contract.
Silva isn’t in a much different situation. The Brazilian is serving a three-year suspension from the NSAC after he got himself in all sorts of trouble beginning when he ran from a random drug test. He released plenty of controversial videos attacking the UFC and accusing them of staging fights. He apologized and took back his accusations and was granted his release from the promotion.
The openweight tournament takes place over the course of three dates: Sept. 25, Dec. 29 and Dec. 31. Silva will be one of four tournament participants to receive a bye in the opening round. The rest of the field is expected to be announced soon.