I never could figure Satoshi Ishii out.
First, he said was going to sign with FEG in Japan, but then he threw everyone for a loop and proclaimed he wanted to fight in the UFC. He was seen everywhere wearing a UFC t-shirt, came to Las Vegas to watch UFC 92, and even visited Xtreme Couture to work out with Randy Couture. Was Ishii genuinely serious about signing a Zuffa contract? Or was he just trying leverage negotiations with the boys back in Japan?
We didn’t know the answer, but now it looks like we might. Despite reports of Ishii being in contract negotiations with the UFC, it appears Ishii is now talking to Affliction as well, and even seen wearing an Affliction shirt (as seen in the picture courtesy of Suki MMA).
And the most important news, Ishii is putting contract negotiations with the UFC on hold for now. As a professional he wants to hear the talk of various organizations. He especially mentioned Affliction and mentioned both Fedor and Sylvia. However, he said that right now the UFC is still the first candidate.
So, either Ishii wised up and realized putting all his cards on Zuffa’s table wasn’t in his best interests, or this has been his plan all along. Regardless of which one it is, at least he’s being smart about it now.
All that said, signing with Affliction would be pointless. While the UFC is continuing their quest for world domination with Japan in their sights, Affliction can’t get out of Anaheim, California. Ishii’s real value lies in Japan, so if he were to sign with Affliction, he would just be a highly inexperience Japanese mixed martial artist fighting serious heavyweight competition in the US.
Affliction hasn’t proved to be the smartest group of fight promoters in the world, but they’re learning, and should know better than to offer Ishii anything close to what he can get in Japan or even the UFC.