RIZIN lightweight champion Roberto Satoshi has decided to donate the sponsorship money he was paid by The Dice Team after the head of the company, Takuya Hashiyada, was arrested on fraud charges in Japan.
Hashiyada was arrested after being accused of running Oz Project, a cryptocurrency project that promised huge profit to its investors. Composed of a group of approximately 20,000 people, Oz Project turned out to be a scam that has gotten its leaders over $55 million dollars, the local police found.
According to a report from Yahoo Finance, three other people have been arrested on the alleged scheme.
TDT have been touting the signing of a long list of MMA stars as sponsored talents over the past 12 months on its Instagram page, including Brandon Moreno, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Cris Cyborg, Michael Chandler, Jiri Prochazka, Ryan Bader, Aljamain Sterling, Kyoji Horiguchi, Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, Michelle Waterson, Michael Page, Julianna Pena, James Gallagher, Marlon Vera, Manel Kape, Tofiq Musayev, Yan Xiaonan, Darrion Caldwell, Lorenz Larkin, Juan Archuleta, John Lineker, Adriano Moraes, Ayaka Hamasaki, Eryk Anders, Alexa Grasso, Bobby Green, Ricky Simon, James Krause and Amanda Ribas, among others.
Satoshi and Koike have decided to donate the entire money they have been paid by TDT to the Red Cross in Shizuoka following the fraud accusations. Satoshi was sponsored by TDT for two of his fights in RIZIN, while Koike was sponsored in three occasions.
“I couldn’t believe it when I saw it on TV,” Satoshi told MMA Fighting. “We thought it wouldn’t be nice to keep the money imagining that people were scammed. Since we can’t give it back to the police, we donated it to the Red Cross.”
“We decided to donate this money today,” Koike told MMA Fighting. “We found out about it and got really scared and surprised, we never imagined that the money came from something like this. So, alongside our manager, we decided to donate this money to the Red Cross. I hope this money can help people that really needs it.”
Shu Hirata, manager for UFC veteran Ulka Sasaki, says he was approached by Hashiyada in the past about sponsoring the fighter for one of his fights in RIZIN, but eventually turned down the offer. According to Hirata, Hashiyada remains in custody in Japan.
“Hashiyada himself visited Ulka at the hospital, explained what TDT can do for him, etc,” Hirata told MMA Fighting. “So, we began creating a sponsorship package for TDT and in the process I tried to find out exactly what they do and I couldn’t. Instead I found some bad articles or SNS posts about Hayashida possibly involved in multiple cryptocurrency-related scams.
“And quite frankly the offer was not impressive, therefore, after I discussed it with Ulka, we have decided to pass on the offer. It was just not worth the risk, was our call.”