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Report: Gold medalist Ishii accepts invitation to attend UFC 92

In recent months reports had circulated through the Japanese media that 2008 Olympic judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii had abandoned hopes of trying to win a second gold in the 2012 Olympics in favor of pursuing a career in mixed martial arts.

After wavering whether he was going to leave Judo for MMA, Ishii finally made his decision to cross over and was heavily pursued by FEG’s DREAM promotion as well as World Victory Road’s Sengoku.

Based on his overwhelming popularity garnered through his impressive showing during the Beijing game, Ishii was viewed as the kind of superstar who could help Japan’s struggling MMA scene.

Reports would eventually surface that Ishii had agreed to sign with DREAM and make his MMA debut in 2009 following an appearance during FEG’sFields Dynamite!!” on December 31 in Saitama, Japan.

However, it appears that Ishii remains a free agent and has already stated that his desire is to make his MMA debut in the United States while competing for the UFC.

Now, according to a report by Nikkan Sports, UFC president Dana White has issued a response through the promotion’s Japanese PPV partner WOWOW in which he met Ishii’s comments with approval. Furthermore, the WOWOW statement attributed to White included a formal invitation for the standout Judoka to attend this week’s UFC 92 Ultimate 2008” event in Las Vegas. Nikkan also is claiming that Ishii has accepted the invite and plans to be at the MGM Grand Garden Arena this Saturday.

7 COMMENTS
  • adamj says:

    This is interesting. Though not a big name here, Ishii is huge in Japan and could help the UFC get a bigger following there. I know the UFC wants to hold events in more places; maybe this is a (very preliminary) step towards having another PPV in Japan?

  • mike wolfe says:

    Unless he has skills in addition to his judo, it’s a mistake for him to break in with UFC. Losing to relative unknowns will detract from his marketability, and if he has nothing more than judo he won’t be competitive against lower tier UFC fighters. It’s been a long time since a fighter versed in just one style can be competitive.

  • CubanLinx says:

    thats really saying something if the Japanese superstar is choosing UFC over Dream and WVR.

  • HexRei says:

    mike wolfe on December 21st, 2008 5:04 pm

    Unless he has skills in addition to his judo, it’s a mistake for him to break in with UFC. Losing to relative unknowns will detract from his marketability, and if he has nothing more than judo he won’t be competitive against lower tier UFC fighters. It’s been a long time since a fighter versed in just one style can be competitive.

    He just needs a year or three of real MMA training to adapt his style.

  • ctownhood says:

    Being a judoka, I am excited by this. Judokas have had mixed success in MMA. Fedor, Karo, and Yoshiyuki Yoshida have fared well, while others like Sokoudjou and Hidehiko Yoshida have had mixed success. I thin kone thing is Ishii’s favor is his strong ground game.

  • Jye says:

    “It’s been a long time since a fighter versed in just one style can be competitive.”

    lol UFC HW Champ is pretty one dimensional

  • theMindOne says:

    acording to his wikipedia page he’s going to be training @ att in florida so.. he should adapt pretty quickly. he seems to want to fight.. i think he’ll be really good.. like with lesnar his world class grappling will make up for his lack of well rounded skills in striking.. the ufc should sign him if they are serious about being a international force..

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