I’m kinda unsure what’s sketchier: open-weight David & Goliath type fights or MMA fights involving judokas with barely any MMA training. It seems like DREAM is banking on the former to help it survive while Sengoku is going for the latter:
Hot on the heels of inking Japanese MMA golden child Satoshi Ishii last month, Sengoku parent company World Victory Road formally announced the signing of 2004 Athens Games judo silver medalist Hiroshi Izumi on Tuesday.
Izumi joins Sengoku’s list of elite judokas, including former gold medalists Hidehiko Yoshida, Pawel Nastula, Makoto Takimoto and recent prized signing Satoshi Ishii. More interestingly, WVR has also signed Georgian gold medal judoka Zurab Zviadauri, though he has yet to embark on his MMA career. It was Zviadauri who defeated Izumi in Athens in the 198-pound judo final, forcing Izumi to settle for silver.
No timeline has yet been given for the debut of Izumi, who will compete as a light heavyweight.
“Izumi has told me he’s been training MMA for about one month. When will he debut in Sengoku? We still haven’t come to a decision, yet,” said WVR director Takahiro Kokuho. “When I spoke to him about it before, however, he did tell me he’d like to compete as soon as possible.”
With Sengoku starting to sniff around DREAM’s television contract, it seems like their judo crazy scheme is paying off. But call me crazy, I just don’t get why anyone would want to watch guys who have been training MMA for less time than Kim Couture.