At a press conference earlier today, additional fights for RIZIN's New Year's Eve event have been announced. Not without dropping another bomb though. RIZIN CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara reported that Minoru Kimura has tested positive for steroids once again.
Notoriously, this wasn't the first time the Brazilian fighter has failed to provide clean test results. After insisting on being tested the last time he competed in June, his knockout win against Daryl Lokoku was overturned, and he was handed a 6-month suspension.
With the suspension coming to an end this month and tensions between him and fellow K-1 alumni Rukiya Anpo rising, the fight has now been called off.
Sakakibara, while condemning Kimura for testing positive again, hopes to see him back next year.
"I can't help but laugh. We announced this fight and now we have another positive result. The fight between Kimura and Anpo will not happen on New Year's Eve. Unfortunately, Kimura and his side were sure that he would be fine… there are no other organizations that conduct these tests before allowing their athletes into the ring or cage. We take pride in being more rigorous than anyone else when it comes to anti-doping measures. Personally, I hope that Kimura can pass the test and return to RIZIN in 2024. In any case, we look forward to his dedication."
Kimura commented, "I take the test results very seriously. I believe there was still trace amounts [of banned substances] remaining in my system, so I will continue to focus on treatment and training until I'm completely clean. I deeply apologize to [Rukiya] Anpo and all the fans for any inconvenience I have caused. I will definitely come back, so I will do my best to make sure this fight can happen next year."
Rukiya Anpo made his anger on social media known but hopes RIZIN will find him a suitable replacement in time. "I don't know if I'm the right person to say this, but Minoru, are you insane? I don’t care if you are doping, but that's what RIZIN has decided, so I have nothing more to say. Go get it out of your system and pass the doping test. I'll make it happen next year for sure. But I’m ready to fight on this year's New Year's Eve. Anyone want to face me? I'll take on anyone at 70 KG."
K-1 Super Welterweight champion Hiromi Wajima, the last person to stop Minoru Kimura back in 2021, has thrown his name into the hat, "I suddenly feel like I want to defend [my title] in December and have at least one more fight before the end of the year."