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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