For the strangest of circumstances, the MMA event Rizin 43 almost got cancelled. The city of Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan, was hesitant about holding the event due to safety concerns. But with necessary provisions and enhanced security, Rizin managed to deliver an amazing spectacle of MMA performances.
Days before Rizin 43, the promotion encountered an unusual challenge— bear sightings on the premises. The city authorities were worried about the safety of the 6,000 to 10,000 attendees and raised the possibility of canceling the event.
In a recent podcast, Rizin matchmaker Shingo Kashiwagi discussed this situation in depth and described how Rizin was still able to put on a spectacular event. He said:
“We had to fight off three bears. Like, real bears. There were three bear sightings on the premises a couple of days before our event. So the city didn’t want us to hold the event. They were like, ‘Can you cancel?’ Because there were wild bear sightings. They did not want 6,000 to 10,000 people around the bears.”
He continued by saying that in order for the event to be held in a safe setting, they had to increase security and fence off various locations.
Rizin 43 featured a headlining featherweight clash between Kleber Koibe Erbst and Chichiro Suzuki, accompanied by a total of 17 thrilling matches. The event lived up to the expectations with an impressive 14 finishes, comprising eight knockouts and six submissions.
In the main event, Kleber Koibe Erbst secured a first-round submission victory against Chichiro Suzuki. However, Erbst missed the required weight for the bout, leading to the result being overturned to a no-contest.
The uncertainty caused by the bear sightings couldn’t deter the combatants from giving their best performances at Rizin 43.
However, the organizers’ commitment to safety and the competitors’ determination to shine in the face of adversity made the event a huge success. Rizin 43 will be remembered as a remarkable display of talent and resilience, solidifying the promotion’s position in the world of MMA events.