Check this out: Dana White says he’s actually already gotten Olympic gold medalist and great Japanese hope Satoshi Ishii to sign a contract with the UFC:
In a recent interview with the media following UFC 94, UFC president Dana White confirmed that while he had indeed signed Ishii to a deal, he was unsure if the Japanese star would fulfill it.
“The thing is this: the kid’s sitting on a lottery ticket right now,” said White. “He’s being offered millions of dollars in Japan. They want him. He has to make a decision whether he wants to take the lottery ticket or come over here and work his way up and try to become the best.”
“Well, yeah, I’m going to hold on to him, I’ve got a contract with him,” White began. “But if he comes back and tells me I want to take this lottery ticket, I’ll give it to him. He needs to decide what he wants to do with his life. Just because I have a contract with him, I’m not going to try to tell him what he should do with his life. I’ve sat down and I’ve talked to him for hours on what I think he should do with his career. Now it’s up to him. You can’t force anybody to be a mixed martial arts fighter, they have to want to do it.”
I suppose Dana realizes that the only thing worse than stripping PRIDE for parts like a junked Honda Civic would be suing a national hero. Still, I can’t really believe that Ishii will be free to go to K1 or anyone else with no strings attached. The UFC has leverage, and if Ishii decides to be a moron (which is possible since he apparently doesn’t understand what signing a contract implies), I gotta figure Dana will try and take at least a little bit of advantage.