This Fan Post was promoted to the front page by Nick Thomas.
Suki of MMAFighting.com reports about Judo Olympic gold medalist Satoshi Ishii's MMA career plans:
After training on Dec 17, he told his decision to the press:
"I made up my mind finally. The UFC is where I fight. If I'm an unknown judo-ka, I will definitely built up MMA experiences in Japan first. However, I decided to use my title of the Judo gold medalist. I believe my name value will attract the UFC. I'm sorry that my indecisive and expressive behavior confused DREAM staff and fans."
"I'm a white belt in MMA. I understand the possibility of starting from WEC. I go to the US first, and work on contracting with the UFC. I plan to go next March for training at American Top Team."
UPDATE by Kid Nate: Zach Arnold has some commentary on what may actually be going on with Ishii:
Daily Sports newspaper in Japan has everyone buzzing about the possibility of Satoshi Ishii signing with Zuffa instead of with DREAM. The paper’s angle is that if Ishii signs with UFC, he won’t be fighting in Japan.
It’s an intriguing story. It’s not uncommon for a Japanese fight star to use the name value of an American promotion (think: WWE and Japanese wrestlers) to try to build up credibility back home. The “oh, look, WWE is interested in me! But I stayed home in Japan because I’m loyal to you” spin.
That said, if Ishii signs with UFC, there’s only one reason for Zuffa to make this move — to run shows in Japan. The problem for UFC is that the climate on the ground for them is hostile — they’ll need someone like a Total Sports Asia or someone else to promote events on the ground for them. If Zuffa goes alone into Japan, they will bleed cash heavily and lose face. Japan is a very delicate situation.
Maybe I'm being a naive fanboy, but I'm taking a slightly less cynical take on this. With Akiyama leaving DREAM and talking smack about fighting for the UFC, there are some actual possibilities for Zuffa in the Land of the Rising Sun.
An Ishii vs Akiyama match would certainly be a huge draw in Japan, is it possible that Zuffa could pull it off?