Rizin has posted a YouTube video in which Nobuyuki Sakakibara addressed the allegations surrounding the fight between Shibatar and Kubo at Rizin 33. He denies that the match was fixed but admits that the two fighters did communicate beforehand.
Sakakibara acknowledges that Shibatar contacted Kubo before the fight and asked him to go easy in the opening round, claiming that he was unwell. The K-1 star agreed only for the YouTuber to surprise him by coming out swinging.
Both Shibatar and Kubo had released statements themselves so Sakakibara was forced to address the controversy. His statement lasted 30 minutes but the main point was that fighters are allowed to communicate prior to the bout so no rules were broken.
Neither Shibatar or Kubo will be punished, although Sakakibara admitted that the K-1 star might have broken the law by sharing private messages from his opponent without his consent. Moving forwards he said this will be explicitly prohibited in Rizin contracts.
But the message from Sakakibara was clear. There is no fight fixing in Rizin, there never has been and everyone should move on from the controversy that has erupted in the wake of Shibatar’s win over Kubo.