Ishii quits MMA to make Olympic Judo run, for USA

by Zach Arnold | source:

It has been a tough year for  former Japanese Olympic judoka gold medalist Satoshi Ishiii. He was scheduled to fight Scott Lighty on the Strikeforce April 1st event, but the fight was canceled. Reported visa issues nixed plans to fight on on a future Strikeforce Challengers card. Ishii ended up filing for divorce after nine months of marriage. And the collapse of JMMA took real Japanese bookings on the table.

Now the Japan Times is reported that had suddenly quit MMA, in order to pursue Olympic glory, representing the USA, not Japan. He decided on Monday to enter into the upcoming 2011 USA Judo Senior National Championships event in Orlando on the 29th. His goal is to obtain American citizenship and make a run at the 2016 Rio Olympic games as a representative of the United States. Mr. Ishii has been living in Los Angeles since last July.

The career shift puts an end to what was one of the most heavily mismanaged prospects ever to hit the Mixed Martial Arts scene. Ishii had all the tools and the power base to make it work, but he hated taking a punch. He also has a very mercurial personality and few fans could relate to his life story or his demeanor, so much so that fans booed him and cheered Jerome Le Banner on New Year’s Eve 2010.

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tags: Strikeforce   Satoshi Ishii   


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Recent Comments »

Im A Ninja site profile image  

5/2/11 1:22 AM by Im A Ninja

Judo ranks as one of the most played sports in the world. Could be huge for the exposure of U.S. judo.

Wasa-B site profile image  

5/2/11 1:08 AM by Wasa-B

interesting article between breen and the other

Wasa-B site profile image  

5/2/11 12:56 AM by Wasa-B

How is it disrespectful? Does seems a bit like a clusterfuck career or....maybe dude really knows what he wants and has a plan. site profile image  

5/2/11 12:25 AM by

Reports I've read on Japanese news sites say that MMA is still his first priority, but he wants to train full time in the US, which isn't possible on temporary visas. Getting into the US olympic squad is a short cut to citizenship.Sounds a little contrived and even disrespectful, but Ishii has always done things his way.

MurdochIRL site profile image  

5/1/11 11:38 PM by MurdochIRL


JSho site profile image  

5/1/11 9:27 PM by JSho

very easy for him to walk into the US squad, harder to get back into the Japanese squad.

CyborgRoyce site profile image  

5/1/11 9:18 PM by CyborgRoyce

Ishii is still continuing with MMA according to this article. He's aiming for the US team in the 2016 Olympics

GladiatorGannon site profile image  

4/20/11 2:02 PM by GladiatorGannon

He is a tough guy that can take a lot of punishment...but the combination of his striking inexperience and some bad training methodologies can keep a tough guy from ever having that effortless smooth dealing with punches.He's a compeitior, and doesn't want to "play light" and really learn the timing, he wants challenge himself and prove he's as tough as anyone in the room.A coach has to understand this....and NOT LET HIM DO IT!One of biggest recurring stories coming out tof the training camps was "we're kicking the shit out of him" - Of course u are, he's never done MMA before. But how about NOT kicking the shit out of him and helping him learn how to fight?

portuguesmike site profile image  

4/20/11 1:51 PM by portuguesmike

WTF is with all the NSTAR and NGRID construction on and around dot ave

fakezaga site profile image  

4/20/11 1:49 PM by fakezaga

I betcha this is partially about getting on the fast track to US citizenship. Most countries have special immigration categories for world-class athletes. Good for him if that's what he wants.