Ishii turns down UFC for Sengoku

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Olympic gold medalist Satoshi Ishii has chosen pride before promotion.

The decorated judoka signed with World Victory Road and will fight for Sengoku in the near future the promotion announced on Monday.

The news upends expectations that Ishii was headed for the Octagon.

Last December, he was captured by UFC president Dana White's video blog meeting fighters and talking to Japanese press. Afterwards, Ishii announced his intention to sign with the promotion.

The news drew a stern response from Fight Entertainment Group (FEG) president Sadaharu Tanigawa, who had reportedly reached an agreement with the Olympian to fight for Dream and appear on K-1 Dynamite's New Year's Eve show.

"It's unfortunate that the man with the Japanese MMA world on his shoulders is going abroad," Tanigawa then said.

It appears, though, that FEG was not willing or able to sign Ishii in subsequent talks.

In a press conference announcing the signing, Ishii said he was loyal to his homeland and felt Sengoku had the depth of talent desired to make his start. He also expressed his desire to fight Josh Barnett, who's currently slated to fight Fedor Emelianenko at Affliction "Trilogy" in August.

Ishii gave no timetable for his debut.