Big news in Japan that y’all might not give a shit about, but it’s a pretty big deal over there so here it is: 2008 Olympic Judo gold medalist and BJJ brown belt Satoshi Ishii is jumping ship to become an MMA fighter:
Kazuo Yoshimura, chief technical director of the All Japan Judo Federation, said he has been notified of Ishii’s intention directly from the 21-year-old and added the federation plans to drop him from the list of top-ranked athletes.
“He said he wants to join the world of mixed martial arts and personally I think he should go his own way,” Yoshimura said. Ishii could not be reached for comment on Monday.
The federation’s rules prohibit judoka from signing a professional contract in any other martial art, including pro wrestling and the K-1 mixed martial arts event.
You may remember Ishii as the guy who called out Fedor after winning his gold medal in Beijing. There were rumors that a Fedor NYE fight was set up and about to be announced at DREAM.6, but then the Judo Federation, cocksuckers that they are, killed it. But with Ishii parting ways with the Judo Federation….
Ishii isn’t the first Olympic judo medalist to get into MMA, but he’s the first Olympic judo medalist to do so while he’s still Olympic caliber. The guy is only 21 and is basically giving up a medal in the 2012 Olympics to compete in MMA. While other Olympic fighters seem to see MMA as a way to make some scratch after their ‘real’ career is over, Ishii seems serious about dedicating himself to the sport. As a true heavyweight and national hero, he could be instrumental in breathing new life into Japan’s MMA scene.
So where will Ishii fight? Right now there’s just a bunch of speculation going around, but all signs point to him competing on New Years Eve. My bet is Fedor or Yoshida.