Dave Meltzer of Yahoo! Sports is reporting that Japanese Olympic gold medalist in judo, Satoshi Ishii, challenged Fedor Emelianenko this past week after winning his medal:
In Beijing, China, after winning the gold medal in the superheavyweight division in judo this past week, Japan’s Satoshi Ishii said he wanted to fight “Emelianenko Fedor,” as the legendary Russian fighter is known in Japan.
With Ishii becoming a national hero in Japan and the sport fading in popularity, such a match would draw the kind of interest that Emelianenko against a top fighter could never do.
With the way that Japanese fans love their freakshow MMA fights it’s very possible that this fight could be put together for New Year’s Eve. As long as Fedor’s hand is ready to go it’s probably a sure thing that he will be fighting on New Year’s Eve in Japan but the opponent is not yet known. As of two weeks ago, it was reported that Fedor would either fight a “judo legend or a sumo wrestler” on New Year’s Eve. Ishii fits the bill for that description especially now that he’s locked up the gold medal at this year’s Olympic games. Judokas who win gold medals are national heroes in Japan and a fight with Fedor, who is also adored in Japan, is a big time money fight for the Japanese.
Ishii has never fought in MMA and would likely be in for a serious beating but if a struggling promotion like DREAM could put this fight on it would go a long way towards helping them survive through the end of 2008.