The big story over in Japan for the past few days has been the will he / won’t he jump from Judo for Olympic gold medalist Satoshi Ishii. The general consensus is that Ishii would be the white knight that Japan needs (white samurai?) to revive the flagging MMA industry.
Unfortunately, Japan’s Judo Federation has been in fierce opposition to Ishii trying out MMA, and it looks like they may have finally forced him to ditch his plans. Here’s one interview (of many) where a seemingly repentant Ishii backs off his talk of competing in mixed martial arts:
Question: How about your conduct? [Ishii has been seen as making gross/brazen statements, jokes, etc.]
Answer: I am going to pay attention from now on, and fix the parts that need fixing.
Question: Have you submitted papers to resign from Judo?
Answer: No, not at all.
Question: When will the switchover to MMA happen?
Answer: I might even go when I’m 30 [He is now 22], I just really don’t know. I haven’t thought about it. I would like to think about it from now on.
Keep in mind though that Japan is f’ing crazy and we could go from Ishii saying ‘Judo judo judo’ to Ishii fighting Fedor on NYE in the blink of an eye. There’s no doubt in anyone’s eyes that this all comes down to a war of wills between Ishii, the Judo Federation, and MMA promotions. Who wins could determine MMA’s future (or lack thereof) in Japan. I’ve still got a strange feeling we’re gonna see him fighting sooner rather than later.