Sumo wrestler fired over illegal betting scandal

July 5, 2010

The illegal betting scandal surrounding the world of sumo wrestling has now led to the firing of wrestler Kotomitsuki and his stable master, Otake, for their involvement in illegal baseball gambling.

The Japanese Sumo Association took the decision yesterday afternoon at an emergency meeting after it was found Kotomitsuki had gambled on professional baseball, with money allegedly a source of funding for mobsters.

Kotomitsuki is one of the most famous wrestlers in sumo, and he was promoted to the champion rank of ‘ozeki’ in 2007.

The sport has already suffered from the scandal, with companies Fuji Xerox and Nagatanien withdrawing their sponsorship of a tournament due to be held this month.

Even the broadcaster NHK is considering cancelling its coverage of the sixth-annual sumo tournament that it has been showing since 1953 unless the association can sufficiently deal with the scandal.

Around 65 members of the sport have admitted to illegal gambling on baseball, mahjong and card games.