Pot arrest ends sumo career

Kyodo News

The Japan Sumo Association said Thursday it will expel top-division wrestler Wakanoho, a Russian who was arrested earlier this week on suspicion of possessing marijuana, making him the first active wrestler to be fired in the sport’s history.

The JSA also accepted the resignation of the wrestler’s stablemaster, Magaki, who was an executive member of the JSA board. Magaki was punished with a pay cut in May for beating and injuring one of his jonokuchi junior-division wrestlers.

The 20-year-old Russian wrestler, whose real name is Gagloev Soslan Aleksandrovich, wrestled in the makuuchi top division. He was arrested Monday for allegedly possessing a Russian-made cigarette containing 0.368 gram of dried plant matter including cannabis on a street in Sumida Ward, Tokyo, on June 24. He was 19 at the time.

His alleged transgression came to light after his wallet, which contained both the cigarette and his alien registration card, was given to police after he lost it on the street.

After the meeting, JSA Chairman Kitanoumi told reporters the association made the decision because Wakanoho has admitted the misdeed.

Stablemaster Magaki said the decision is right, and apologized for Wakanoho’s arrest.

The incident is yet another body slam on sumo, which is suffering from scandals tied to wrestlers and stablemasters.

In October, the JSA fired stablemaster Tokitsukaze over the fatal beating of a 17-year-old wrestler in June last year. The ex-stablemaster and three wrestlers from his stable were indicted in February for the fatal assault.