Going after a fellow sumo wrestler in the ring is quite all right. Outside the ring, and with a beer bottle, not so much. Hence why star athlete Harumafuji of Mongolia, one of only four active wrestlers to have achieved sumo's highest rank of grand champion, has thrown the sport into disarray after allegedly assaulting a fellow wrestler at a party late last month, reports the Telegraph. The 33-year-old had been drinking with fellow wrestlers in Tottori, Japan, when he reportedly began criticizing 27-year-old Takanoiwa's "poor attitude" and hit him over the head with a beer bottle "as punishment," Kyoto News reports, per the Guardian. The assault allegedly didn't end there.
Apparently angered that his former opponent had tried to take a phone call during Harumafuji's criticism, the 300-pound wrestler is said to have unleashed 20 to 30 punches on Takanoiwa, who was hospitalized with a skull fracture, concussion, and spinal damage. Harumafuji—whose trainer admitted to Harumafuji's involvement, per the Japan Times—has apologized as a police investigation is underway. He also withdrew from a major tournament, but many believe his career is over. The scandal is just the latest to expose violence behind the scenes of sumo. In one of the more extreme cases, a trainer was jailed following the beating death of a wrestler in 2007. (Read more sumo wrestling stories.)