Kai Asakura has been rubbing shoulders with some serious players in the combat sports industry. The former Rizin bantamweight champion was photographed with Dana White last week.

Earlier this week he shared a photo of himself posing alongside boxing legend Floyd Mayweather:

Same card

Asakura and Mayweather have crossed paths before. At Rizin 14 the boxer inflicted a one sided beatdown on Tenshin Nasukawa in what was billed as an exhibition match.

Asakura was not on that fight card but he was in attendance at the Saitama Super Arena. There was also a rumour going around that Mayweather might be fighting his older brother, Mikuru Asakura, in another exhibition boxing match.

The photo was taken outside Mayweather’s gym in Las Vegas. It is unclear whether Asakura was there to sharpen up his boxing skills or just happened to be passing by.

Surprising defeat

Asakura has not fought since New Year’s Eve when he was surprisingly beaten by Hiromasa Ougikubo in the final of the bantamweight Grand Prix. Neither man has seen any action since they met in that Rizin 33 headliner.

There is precedent for fighters to leave Rizin in their prime. Manel Kape and Jiří Procházka were both reigning champions with the Japanese promotion when they decided to sign for the UFC.

Meanwhile Kyoji Horiguchi held the promotion’s bantamweight belt when he decided to jump ship for Bellator. He had reclaimed that title by beating Asakura at Rizin 26.

Exhibition match

So the sight of Asakura rubbing shoulders with the likes of Mayweather and White could potentially make Nobuyuki Sakakibara a nervous man. But the Rizin head honcho looks pretty happy in this photo so if there are any negotiations going on it is unlikely they are taking place behind his back.

Mayweather’s conventional boxing career appears to be over. But he will happily lace up the gloves for exhibition matches like the one with Tenshin and has one booked for a helipad in Abu Dhabi on May 14th.

The undefeated boxer is set to take on former sparring partner Don Moore. That card will also feature former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva who is set to take on Bruno Machado in an eight round exhibition boxing match.

Idle speculation

But the sight of Sakakibara and Mayweather together is sure to get tongues wagging. Could the boxer be set for another exhibition bout in the Rizin ring or could Asakura, or his brother, be set to compete on the helipad in Abu Dhabi?

Next up for Sakakibara’s promotion is Rizin Trigger 3 which is taking place at an undisclosed venue tomorrow. It will be interesting to see whether he makes it back from Las Vegas in time for that!