DDT Pro-Wrestling, a pro wrestling promotion founded in Japan, has launched a foundation to help cover the medical costs of pro wrestling legend and former mixed martial artist Yoshihiro Takayama.
Takayama, who wrestled as recently as May of this year and last fought in MMA in 2013, injured his cervical spinal cord during a match at DDT Pro-Wrestling Toyaka Games on May 4. Takayama, 50, was paralyzed from the neck down.
DDT Pro-Wrestling announced at a press conference Monday the formation of TAKAYAMANIA, a foundation for Takayama, who will likely never fully recover, which will raise money to support Takayama and his family during this troubling time. You can donate online via credit card here, and DDT Pro-Wrestling officials said the organization will have donation boxes set up at future events.
A statement from Takayama was read by an official at the press conference in Japan.
“On May 4, after suffering a cervical spinal injury in my match, I was unable to move beneath the neck, nor breathe on my own,” he wrote. “During surgery, my heart stopped and I had other post-operative trouble. My condition and disappointing progress left me unable to offer updates. Under these circumstances, that everyone gathered together and offered me their support is something I can only be deeply grateful for. Thank you so much to everyone. I want to contribute my own ideas and will be doing my very best to recover.”
Takayama was one of the most popular pro wrestlers in Japan and held countless titles. In MMA, he retired with a 1-4 record and fought the likes of Don Frye and Bob Sapp. His epic battle with Frye is one of the most memorable fights in MMA history. The PRIDE veteran’s last fight also marked his first pro victory, a knockout over Hikaru Sato in March 2013.