Although he never used a word "retirement", on July 6th Japan time, on his own blog, PRIDE / DREAM / Strikeforce vet Mitsuhiro Ishida announced he is going to "stop all activity as a Mixed Martial Arts fighter".
And he thanked everyone who has provided a support since he made a pro debut in Shooto 11 years ago.
What's interesting about this announcement is he only wrote that he is going to "stop" being Kakutou-ka. That's it. No mentioning of retirement therefore nothing is planned in terms of his retirement ceremony we all used to see in the Japanese MMA.
So, Ishida won't be standing in the middle of the ring, listening to ten-count gong, yet he has declared he is not a MMA fighter anymore.
When Ishida came into PIRDE Bushido back in 2006 and went 4-0 including a win over Marcus Aurelio everyone in Japan thought he maybe the next big thing. Although he took a loss to Takanori Gomi in NYE 2006 he bounced back strong with a win over Gilbert Melendez in NYE 2007.
However, from 2008, when PRIDE ended and DREAM began, Ishida started to go back and forth between 145 and 155. He was 2-0 in 2008 at the lightweight including a tapout win over Justin Wilcox in the Strikeforce. However Ishida went down to 145 for DREAM featherweight GP in 2009, scored a win over Daisuke Nakamura. Many thought he would do well at 145 but Ishida went back up to 155 then lost o Mizuto Hirota at Shooto's 20th year anniversary show then lost to Gilbert Melendez in San Jose.
From 2010 Ishida went back down to 145 again and scored two consecutive wins but in 2011 he lost to Joachim Hansen, then in DEEP, he was KO'd by Doo Ho Choi from Korea.
Ishida always fought in the big shows against top talents. Although PRIDE disappeared DREAM kept him busy for these past four years. Six fights in DREAM, two fights in Strikeforce, and once in the big Shooto show. He just had to be flexible enough to go back and forth between 155 an 145.
And now, with no concrete future plan for DREAM, and after a devastating loss to Choi in DEEP, Ishida, more than likely, would have to get a full-time job to make his ends meet.
Which, actually, is a similar situation with many top MMA fighters in Japan now.
With no DREAM, its almost impossible for fighters to earn enough money to make a living by just fighting.
Ishida is only 33 so its not like he is really old as a MMA fighter, however, in the Japanese society, 33-year old can be too old to find a good full-time job.
He maybe still hoping to do MMA as long as there is a promotion that can pay him a decent money but that is just not possible at this point therefore he maybe just looking for a job.
And that maybe is the reason why he never used a word "retirement".
He probably still wants to compete but right now in Japan, its just not feasible for an independent adult to do MMA as full-time job. If something changes then he probably would like to come back and that has to be the reason why Ishida only wrote he is going to "stop" activity as MMA fighter...........for now, is what Ishida fans and Japanese MMA fans are, probably, hoping.
Report by Shu Hirata
Photo courtesy of DEEP blog - The Wild Side of DEEP