Talk of Satoshi Ishii jumping into the UFC hit a fever pitch over Christmas holidays, but nothing has really come of the situation since then. Now here’s an update on what’s happening for the dude who could become the lynchpin for a UFC invasion of Japan:
Ishii is moving to the U.S. at the end of February to start training with American Top Team. He is also planning to train in Brazil with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira as he was invited there by him at UFC 94. He also had some contact with LYOTO (or his father) while there, because of his Japanese origin or something.
And the most important news, Ishii is putting contract negotiations with the UFC on hold for now. As a professional he wants to hear the talk of various organizations. He especially mentioned Affliction and mentioned both Fedor and Sylvia. However, he said that right now the UFC is still the first candidate.
Ishii in Affliction would be about as useful as nipples on a duck … fun to suck on and play with, but what’s the point? We’re talking about one of the biggest potential MMA stars in Japan here … to have him fighting for Affliction in America would just be insane. Still, no matter how insane Affliction might be with their money, I can’t see them offering up the roughly 1 million + dollars per fight that other organizations are reportedly willing to pay.
Regardless, the UFC doesn’t seem to be putting all their eggs in one basket. Over the past month and a half, Dana White has been seen courting a bunch of fighters best known in Japan, from Alistair Overeem and Semmy Schilt to guys like Caol Uno, Takanori Gomi, and Kid Yamamoto. With Dana saying things like “We’re going to do it anyway. They will not stop me from going into Japan”, I think it’s safe to say they’re getting ready to make the move.