Holy fucking shit, it looks like Satoshi Ishii is doing a bit more than just flirting with the UFC.
“I have finally made up my mind,” Ishii told Nikkan Sports Wednesday. “The UFC is where I want to fight.”
Ishii, who turned 22 on Thursday, was expected to ink a deal with Fighting and Entertainment Group and Dream, which some Japanese media outlets alleged was worth in the neighborhood of 500 million yen ($5.86 million USD), and make an in-ring appearance on New Year’s Eve to greet the crowd and announce his debut in 2009.
Dana White has gone out of his way to welcome the judo gold medalist, inviting him to Vegas for the UFC’s New Years Eve show. Those of you who thought the UFC president was going to try and foist a TUF-like 8k/8k contract on the young fighter need to get their brains checked. The UFC recognizes that Ishii holds the key for Japanese expansion and it wouldn’t surprise me if the guy ends up being one of the highest paid UFC fighters right off the bat. The only challenge may be in finding fighters easy enough that the green judoka can beat.