LAS VEGAS – Three of Japan’s most recognizable MMA stars were in attendance during UFC 94 with Judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii and DREAM stars Norifum “Kid” Yamamoto, and Caol Uno among the 14,000-plus fans in attendance at the MGM Grand Garden Arena last night.

Ishii, Yamamoto, and Uno were all shown on camera during the non-televised portion of the card and were identified by UFC play-by-play announcer Mike Goldberg, who indicated that the three were on hand to cheer their countryman Akihiro Gono. Gono lost a unanimous decision to former UFC welterweight title challenger Jon Fitch in the final fight contested before the PPV telecast.

In addition to supporting Gono, it appears the three might have been present for the event for additional reasons. According to a report by CBSSports.com’s Todd Martin, UFC President Dana White stated during a post-fight press conference that the promotion has an interest in signing all three.

The revelation that the UFC has interest in Ishii is nothing new. Ishii, who won a gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympic games in Beijing while representing Japan, was flown to Las Vegas by the UFC in December for UFC 92. While in town, he spent time at several local fight gyms, most notably Randy Couture’s Xtreme Couture. After the event, the promotion issued a press release announcing it had begun negotiations with the rookie heavyweight.

However, the news that White is interested in both Yamamoto and Uno is a new development. Yamamoto has not competed in over a year due to injury but is considered one of Japan’s biggest MMA stars who has also gained mainstream notoriety. A former standout amateur wrestler, Yamamoto has competed as both a bantamweight and a featherweight.

White’s public flirtation with Ishii stirred up a negative reaction with many Japanese fight fans and if the UFC is able to formally sign both, it could launch a full-scale promotional war. However, it still remains to be seen whether either will sign with the UFC, as Ishii still has not formally signed a contract and White also reportedly acknowledged that Yamamoto still has two fights on his current contract.

If signed by Zuffa, Yamamoto would not only give the promotion a drawing card in Japan but could be also promoted in high-profile fights against current WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Torres and or former WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber.

Uno previously competed in the UFC from 2001-2003, compiling a record of 3-3-1 with notable victories over Yves Edwards and Din Thomas and notable losses to Jens Pulver and B.J. Penn. Now 25-11-4 in a pro MMA career that began in 1996, Uno is still considered one of Japan’s top lightweight competitors.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

UFC Fight Night 70: Machida vs. Romero Sold Out The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino

  • 4 days ago
  • 1 views

UFC Fight Night 70: Machida vs. Romero gate and attendance figures from Hollywood, Fla. read news >>

UFC Fight Night 70 draws sellout crowd of 5,604

  • 4 days ago
  • 1 views

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 70 event in Florida drew an announced attendance of 5,604.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

UFC Fight Night 69 draws an announced 8,155 fans

  • 12 days ago
  • 0 views

BERLIN – Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 69 event drew an announced attendance of 8,155 fans in Berlin, the UFC’s second trip to Germany’s capital city in about a year.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Tatsuya Kawajiri claims fighters used PEDs in PRIDE

  • 12 days ago
  • 2 views

The MMA veteran says, Japanese fighters were always clean during the Pride FC era. Tatsuya Kawajiri has fought all over the world, but is mostly known for his battles in the now defunct Japanese PRID read news >>

UFC 188: Velasquez vs. Werdum Gate and Attendance Set Records in Mexico City

  • 18 days ago
  • 9 views

UFC president Dana White announced the attendance numbers from UFC 188: Velasquez vs. Werdum following the pay-per-view event in Mexico City on Saturday. read news >>

UFC 188 draws reported 21,036 fans for Werdum's upset of Velasquez in Mexico City

  • 18 days ago
  • 7 views

MEXICO CITY – Saturday’s UFC 188 event drew a reported attendance of 21,036 fans in Mexico City.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Polaris Pro 2 set to feature Japanese MMA legend Masakazu Imanari

  • 19 days ago
  • 1 views

Masakazu Imanari is set to face rising star Garry Tonon at Polaris Pro Invitational 2 in September. Following a highly successful debut event, submission grappling promotion Polaris Pro have announce read news >>

Video: Andrei Arlovski in attendance at UFC 188, responds to Ben Rothwell's call out

  • 20 days ago
  • 27 views

Streaking Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight contender Ben Rothwell isn't wasting any time after his first-round submission win over Matt Mitrione last weekend in New Orleans (watch it) read news >>

Junior dos Santos: 'I've arrived in Mexico City to see who's gonna be my next target'

  • 21 days ago
  • 9 views

Junior dos Santos will be in attendance at UFC 188 to scope out his next opponent. Junior dos Santos believes he's next in line for a shot at the UFC heavyweight title. The Brazilian standout capture read news >>

UFC Fight Night 68 Attendance and Gate from New Orleans

  • 25 days ago
  • 4 views

UFC Fight Night 68: Boetsch vs. Henderson delivered an exciting night of fights on Saturday night, while pulling in a modest crowd. read news >>