Yoshihiro Akiyama's Manager Arrested for Allegedly Stealing $140k from Him

Jordy McElroy@https://twitter.com/JordyMcElroyCorrespondent IApril 18, 2013

Yoshihiro Akiyama - Esther Lin/MMAFighting
Yoshihiro Akiyama - Esther Lin/MMAFighting

UFC fighter Yoshihiro Akiyama's next fight could be in court.

According to AsianMMA.com (via BJPenn.com), Akiyama's now-former manager, Sawayama Tarou, was recently arrested for allegedly stealing $140,000 from the MMA star in a major embezzlement scandal.

Tarou, who was also a close personal friend of Akiyama's, was put in charge of overseeing the professional fighter's finances, sponsorships and endorsement deals.

An arrest has been a longtime coming in this pending investigation, which Akiyama reported to the police back in 2008. He posted about the incident in a blog post back in 2010, which was translated by Got MMA? (via BloodyElbow.com):

It is embarrassing to share this personal story but all of my fight money, the money I've been saving from beginning of my MMA career, is gone. I had a friend who I became acquainted with when I was practicing judo. We became close friends and I respected him very much as a person. But basically, he has embezzled all the money. That's hundreds and thousands of dollars.

According to the police, Tarou was caught after attempting to use the stolen money for a credit card payment. He allegedly stole five times from the account that held Akiyama's earnings from fighting.

After being picked up in Osaka, Japan, Tarou is expected to face charges in an unknown location.

Coming off a four-fight losing streak, Akiyama hasn't competed in over a year. He was initially expected to be released from his UFC contract after a unanimous decision loss to Jake Shields at UFC 144, but the UFC opted to keep him around due to his charisma and exciting fighting style.

After the bout, he was slated to face Thiago Alves at UFC 149, but an undisclosed injury forced him to withdraw from the fight. He has been on a quiet hiatus ever since.

Tarou is currently under investigation for the possibility of being involved in other crimes.