by SportsNavi, Translated by Tatsuo Kubo
K-1 parent company Fight Entertainment Group (FEG) held a press conference on Jan. 11 in Tokyo, Japan concerning the controversy surrounding the Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama match.
During the fight Sakuraba complained to the referee about Akiyama’s legs being slippery after he couldn’t get a grip on Akiyama when going for a takedown. Sakuraba’s complaints went unheard during the fight and he was eventually TKO’d. Many peopled complained that Akiyama must have used some sort of lubricant to become slippery to his opponent. Also, conspiracies were floating around about one of Akiyama’s gloves as it seemed to appear different than the official gloves worn by other fighters.
SportsNavi reported that the match was declared a “No Contest” and that Akiyama was disqualified and all of his fight purse was taken away after it was determined that Akiyama had applied a cream to his body before the match. He claimed that the cream was for a skin condition, xerosis, and that he didn’t do it to interfere with the fight.
Akiyama appeared in front of the press at the conference and apologized to Sakuraba and said, “I will accept my punishments.”
Kazushi Sakuraba was not in attendance, but FEG president Sadaharu Tanigawa read a statement from Sakuraba in which Sakuraba said he was not happy with the outcome of the situation and that he “can’t accept” FEG’s conclusion. Sakuraba continued, “I request Akiyama to apologize to the people concerned, the fans.”
It was also mentioned that there was no illegalities involved with the gloves or bandages, but two judges were fined. The judge who was responsible for checking Akiyama’s body and gloves was docked half his pay and will be suspended for a period. And the judge who disregarded Sakuraba’s continued pleas during the bout that Akiyama was slippery was docked half his pay.