The Los Angeles Dodgers have fired MLB Superstar Shohei Ohtani’s reporter Ippei Mizuhara after he reportedly stole 4.5 million dollars from Ohtani to use for gambling purposes. Mizuhara and Ohtani have been friends for a very long time, and this comes as a shocking development in the MLB scene as Mizuhara was an incumbent part of Ohtani switching sides in Los Angeles from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to the Dodgers. 

It appears as if Mizuhara was in massive gambling debt from Southern California bookmaker Mathew Bowyer. Gambling is still illegal in the state of California, so instead of betting on one of the various apps, he turned to Bowyer to place his bets. This complicates things, as there are fewer ways to track what truly happened, though it has been reported that Ohtani willingly gave the money to Mizuhara.

Ohtani has refuted these claims, saying that the money was stolen from him by Mizuhara and that lies were told. Ohtani also insisted he has never been gambling himself, and reports show that he never met or contacted Bowyer despite wire transfers being sent from Ohtani’s bank account to one of Bowyer’s associate’s accounts.

According to Bowyer’s attorney, “Mr. Bowyer never met or spoke with Shohei Ohtani.” Ohtani spoke on this, saying, “Ippei has been stealing money from my account and has told lies.”

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There was a clause in Shohei Ohtani’s contract insisting that, at any point, he could opt out of his deal and become an MLB free agent if the Dodgers were to fire Mizuhara. All signs point to Ohtani being unlikely to exercise this clause as he appears to be the victim of theft.

“In the course of responding to recent media inquiries, we discovered that Shohei has been the victim of a massive theft, and we are turning the matter over to the authorities,” read the statement from Berk Brettler LLP.

This has shocked baseball fans around the world, as it has been widely known that Ohtani and Mizuhara are very close friends and have a brotherly relationship, though things are probably rocky now. Mizuhara made between $300,000-$500,000 per year from the Los Angeles Angels for the duration of Ohtani’s career there.

Shohei Ohtani came to the MLB in 2018 as one of the most sought-after international prospects in history, being a two-way player, both pitching and hitting at an elite level. He is the reigning American League MVP, an award he also won in 2021. Now in the national league, Ohtani will only be a hitter this season as he recovers from Tommy John Surgery, which is needed to repair a torn UCL. It is expected that Ohtani will return to being a two-way player next season, despite the Dodgers having an excess amount of elite starting pitching options.

Mizuhara claimed that he bet on international soccer, the NBA, the NFL, and college football. He has insisted that he was well aware of the repercussions of betting on the MLB and that he never did. He met Bowyer at a poker game in 2021 and has said that he never wins money gambling, which can explain his massive debt to Bowyer.

After entertaining many teams, Ohtani decided to sign with the Dodgers on a 10-year/700-million-dollar deal. This makes him the highest-paid athlete in North American sports history. He had an opt-out clause if Mizuhara were to be fired, but it clearly will not be used now, keeping Ohtani as the best player on the most overpowered baseball team in MLB history—the Los Angeles Dodgers.