Satoshi Ishii, a gold medalist in Judo during the 2008 Beijing Games last summer, has signed a lucrative fight contract with World Victory Road’s Sengoku promotion.
The news comes according to a report by Nightmare of Battle, a English-language blog that has garnered a credible reputation for its coverage of the Japanese MMA scene.
News of Ishii’s signing comes on the heels of previous reports that he had signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. However, UFC President Dana White was quoted as saying that he would not stand in Ishii’s way of competing in his home country.
“The thing is this: the kid’s sitting on a lottery ticket right now,” White said during an interview with MMA Weekly this past February. “He’s being offered millions of dollars in Japan… If he comes back and tells me I want to take this lottery ticket, I’ll give it to him. He needs to decide what he wants to do with his life. Just because I have a contract with him, I’m not going to try to tell him what he should do with his life.”
There had also been recent unconfirmed rumors circulating that Ishii was being considered for a spot on the tenth season of The Ultimate Fighter, which will be featuring heavyweights.
The announcement that Ishii has signed with Sengoku was reportedly made during a press conference in Tokyo. According to Nightmare of Battle, Ishii entered the press area to the theme of The Last of the Mohicans and said “thank you for coming to my wedding” to the press in attendance.
A debut date for Ishii was not announced, but his first fight could be scheduled prior to year’s end.