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When Fedor met Satoshi Ishii on NYE; card will not air on broadcast TV

By Zach Arnold | November 24, 2011

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On NYE at Saitama Super Arena:

The scuttlebutt coming out of Fedor’s decision win over Jeff Monson in Russia is that he will fight on the Inoki NYE card at Saitama Super Arena against Inoki-managed/owned-in-Japan fighter Satoshi Ishii. On paper, the fight makes sense for both parties. Fedor sees it as a chance to get a win, as ugly as it may be, over a relatively green fighter and an easy payday plus TV rights in Russia. Inoki’s camp views it as a chance to get Fedor back in Japan (where he’s the most valued, still) and that Ishii can somehow make the match ugly enough to get a decision win as long as Fedor doesn’t tag him early and knock his ass out.

So, what’s the problem with the fight? First, it’s likely going to be an ugly one to watch. Second, Ishii is not a draw in Japan. The Overton window on fans converting into Ishii supporters is done. It’s dead. This is a guy who in the time span of a year got booed out of SSA on NYE last year when he fought Jerome Le Banner. Japanese fans were backing a Frenchman over the Olympic medal hero. Since that time span, Ishii fled Japan, came back to get a divorce after 9 months with his (now) former wife who was 19 or 20 years old, had media reports surface that he wanted to become an American citizen so he could compete in the Olympics, traveled to Kings MMA in So. Cal to train so he could fight Paulo Filho in Brazil, to now ending up in the same location where the tumultuous cycle started a year ago? Nobody is as impulsive & reckless of a decision maker as this guy is right now. He had everything to gain in his MMA career when he first entered the business and totally squandered his golden ticket.

Remember all the talk about Ishii wanting to be in the UFC? He could have fit into the plans of UFC Japan and actually had a chance to grow up as a fighter. Instead, he’s back to do the business of Inoki by fighting a fading, yet accomplished & decorated veteran who is likely going to produce a fan reaction that will resemble the Le Banner fight. Of course, if Ishii beats Fedor on NYE (even if he gets booed out of the building), I definitely could see Dana marking out and paying Ishii a lot of money to appear on the SSA card. It still wouldn’t change the fact that Ishii isn’t much of a draw, but it would be a great ‘screw you’ to send to the PRIDE fans for a vanity show.

Speaking of UFC Japan, here’s the updated card line-up:

Think the fans will get up at 6 AM to watch the main card at SSA at 10 AM if guys like Rampage aren’t on the card?

If you’ve been following MMA Supremacy on Twitter, you might have heard that the second Fox network show on January 28th in Chicago will feature Rampage Jackson vs. Forrest Griffin (why?) and Chael Sonnen vs. Mark Munoz. If Mark had trouble with Okami, I wonder how the fight with Chael will turn out?

Topics: Japan, M-1, Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 22 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

22 Responses to “When Fedor met Satoshi Ishii on NYE; card will not air on broadcast TV”

  1. edub says:

    Couldn’t Ishii become MMA’s version of a “heel” in Japan? Maybe do something like Kurt Angle did when he came on?

  2. Garret says:

    I had no idea DREAM was still around.

  3. Alan Conceicao says:

    Rampage/Forrest II has name value and its a rematch of one of the greatest MMA fights ever held. What else are those two going to do?

  4. Kelvin Hunt says:

    Sonnen will wreck Munoz…Rampage vs. Griffin on network tv is cool since Rampage should have gotten the nod the first time IMO…would rather he fight Griffin than Bonnar…Bonnar should fight someone like Bader first…stylistically it would be a good fight…and competitive I might add as Bonnar can absorb punishment…but you don’t go from Kyle Kingsbury to fighting Rampage.

    • Alan Conceicao says:

      Bonnar can fight whomever. He’s not going to be a title contender because he doesn’t have the talent. Might as well just make fights that are competitive and interesting. To me, Bonnar/Bader is a recipe for a dude getting laid on while both guys huff and puff 5 minutes in.

    • edub says:

      I’d actually prefer Bonnar to Griffin at this point. Bonnar seems ready to take the fight with a guy like Rampage right now, whereas Forrest’s last performance left little to be desired (not just the fight itself, but the fact that he talked openly about not really wanting to fight at that time). Who knows though, maybe we’ll get a repeat of Forrest-Rampage 1?

  5. Keith Harris says:

    UFC are going to kill their PPV business for shows like this when the real stars fight for free on FOX. Also, the constant barrage of shows means that they’re having to jeopardise some of their biggest future money matches to fill up cards now. 2012 may prove to be another trying year for Dana.

    • Alan Conceicao says:

      What future money match is being jeopardized by Rampage/Forrest II? Cmon dude, complaining about awesome free fights. Really? Really?

  6. 45 Huddle says:

    FOX cards will not hurt future PPV business. It will give more exposure to “fun” fights that people wouldn’t want to buy but certainly want to see for free. A fight like Rampage/Forrest is a perfect fight for FOX.

    And it also increases the number of important main event and co-main event slots…. That just helps them build more potential stars.

    in 2012, we are likely looking at 36 overall cards, with 21 free cards and 15 pay cards. Not to mention all of the undercard fights free on FUEL TV. And the 24 or so free TUF fights that are live. The sport has never been in better shape for the casual fan who either doesn’t want to spend money on PPV or only wants to purchase the better ones.

  7. Jason Harris says:

    The Fedor-Ishii fight just makes me sad. We all saw this tour of shame coming when M-1 took over booking his fights, but it’s sad to see one of the greats ending his career doing this sort of stupid crap. At least when he took a stupid NYE fight before it was sandwiched between real fights.

    The rest of the UFC Japan card seems to be shaping up nicely. I don’t agree with UFC going full silly freakshow booking just to appeal to the fanbase there, and they’re finding a nice spot of booking hometown guys into actually mostly relevant fights.

    • Mr.roadblock says:

      Those were some pretty big sandwiches. 😉

      CropCop to Tim Sylvia was three years worth of tomato cans.

      He’s right back to doing what most of his career was.

  8. RST says:

    Fedor/handlers meant CAN, not Cain!

    And if I was Dana, I’d make a counter offer of Pat Berry behind a 7/11 next to the milk crates!

  9. RST says:

    “The rest of the UFC Japan card seems to be shaping up nicely.”

    Seems like a decent card to me…

    But I suspect severely that those decent fights might not be a touch stone enough for the Japanese audience that they may barely be for us…

    At best.

    I would only get my hopes up for a polite acceptance…

    (Which once again makes you suspect that in the end,
    that it might be any more that an ego maneuver for mister…)

  10. smoogy says:

    Zach is way too hard on Ishii. The kid might not be a great decision maker overall, but he’s been working tirelessly to improve as a fighter in SoCal from all reports. He clearly wasn’t ready skill-wise to fill the role Zach has prescribed for him here. Rather than be another Japanese judoka who was thrown to the wolves and beaten into obscurity, at least Ishii is a young guy who can still make something out of himself.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Um, no. Ishii will never be good. He is too slow and plotting to ever be relevant in MMA.

      • Steve4192 says:

        I disagree about Ishii being ‘slow and plodding’.

        He is a very good athlete. The only reason he appears ‘slow and plodding’ in MMA is because he has to think about everything before doing it. He has none of the automatic responses that come with experience. Watch him in his judo competitions, where he has that experience, and you will see his athleticism shine through.

        I’m not saying he is sure-fire champion material, but he certain has the athletic tools and elite-level skills in his base discipline to be a competent fighter.

  11. Chromium says:

    Zach: Dana’s heart was swayed on Rampage. Or rather, Lorenzo Fertita’s was. He got his Japan match against Bader, which is a solid match-up (as long as it doesn’t end up a clinch-fest).

    • edub says:

      I would have much rather preferred the matchup with Bonnar there. I think Bader is better served taking on somebody like Anthony Perosh. I’m not sure if one win over Brilz is enough to get him out of that funk.

      • Steve4192 says:

        More importantly, I think Rampage is better served in a match with Bonnar. If Bader comes in with a conservative gameplan (lots of cage work) and Rampage comes in out of shape (because he has no respect for Bader), this could be a snoozer. At least with Bonnar, you know it is going to be fireworks, since Bonnar’s wrestling is garbage and he couldn’t stall the fight out along the cage even if he wanted to.

        • Chromium says:

          Even if Rampage doesn’t respect Bader (and honestly, Rampage has to know Bader is dangerous), he still respects Japan and I would bet on him being in shape for this one. He wanted on the Japan card. I’m sure he also wants to win on the Japan card in a major way.

          That being said Rampage vs. Bonnar sounds like the funner fight, but I’ll still take Rampage/Bader.

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