Satoshi Ishii has had to postpone his mixed martial arts debut at World Victory Road’s (WVR) Sengoku 9 from Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, on Aug. 2, according to Sports Navi. The Olympic Judo gold medalist recently underwent minor surgery for what has been described as "hernia-related."
The good news is that it appears to be nothing too serious; however, it has delayed his training and preparation for the proposed bout in little more than a month. And the WVR higher ups don’t want to rush him into anything, opting to instead give him adequate time to prepare.
That's a decision the promotion can hardly be blamed for because of Ishii’s current stature in Japan -- he’s a prize draw.
Ishii is now scheduled to fight at Sengoku 11 on November 7. Though an opponent has yet to be named, fellow Olympic Judo gold medalist Hidehiko Yoshida is a strong candidate because a bout between the two gold medal-winning judoka’s would likely draw much fanfare in the "Land of the Rising Sun."
WVR also plans to hold a heavyweight grand prix when the chance presents itself, with hopes that Ishii would be the focal point. However, that may be difficult if the promotion includes veterans such as Josh Barnett and Antonio Silva in the tournament like it intends to do.
Ishii recently signed a two-year contract with WVR after being courted by every major mixed martial arts promotion out there. In fact, he even verbally committed to some, including the UFC, only to change his mind at the last possible moment in an attempt to flee elsewhere.
Whether he’s just that indecisive or if it was just a bargaining tool for the highest bidder will likely never be known, though Ishii took some heat from fans who got tired of his shtick. Thankfully after months of ongoing negotiations and much back and forth deliberation he finally laid his hat down and committed to World Victory Road.
Ishii recently spent two months down in Brazil training with the UFC’s newly crowned light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida. He now expects to make pit stops in Holland and also Russia to train with heavyweight deity Fedor Emelianenko in preparation for his debut.
Though the latter may not be for certain because after winning his gold medal in Beijing, Ishii issued an open challenge to Fedor Emelianenko. I guess he didn’t see what Fedor did to Judo silver medalist Naoya Ogawa at PRIDE Final Conflict back in 2004.
Fedor of course smiled and went about his business, as Ishii has yet to prove that he can transition from Judo to mixed martial arts ... and a few questions have been raised of his ability to strike (or be struck).
Though if Ishii transitions and proves successful, their paths may cross somewhere down the line.