Mirko Cro Cop has been added to the upcoming Rizin FF World Grand Prix tournament, Rizin FF boss Nobuyuki Sakakibara announced at a press conference on early Saturday morning. The UFC heavyweight veteran joins fellow legend Wanderlei Silva, whose involvement in the tournament was announced in April.
The 16-man, open-weight tournament begins at Rizin FF's next event on Sept. 25 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama with the opening round. The quarterfinals will take place on Dec. 29, with the semifinal and finals at its New Year's Eve show on Dec. 31 -- very similar to Rizin FF's first pair of events last year.
Also added to the tournament is Kazuyuki Fujita and Baruto Kaito, who will square off against each other in the opening round. Four of 16 participants, including Cro Cop and Silva, will receive a bye in the first round.
Cro Cop retired from mixed martial arts competition late last year just before he admitted to use of human growth hormone (HGH) ahead of a scheduled bout at UFC Fight Night 79 in Seoul, South Korea. Cro Cop was recently granted his release from the organization, per Rizin FF officials. Either way, Rizin FF does not have to honor his suspension from USADA.