The Fertitta brothers and Dana White bought the UFC in January 2001, and proceeded to lose tens of millions of dollars. That all famously turned around when the sport finally got on free tv via The Ultimate Fighter show. The company is now worth billions, and aims to replicate the plan internationally - get TUF on free tv, fans go crazy.
It apparently worked in Brazil, where TUF Brazil 3 will shortly start filming, and the sport is now massive. The UFC aims to replicate the success in China, and the line up has been announced, with Cung Le supervising the show.
Here is the official word from the UFC.
The highly anticipated Chinese edition of The Ultimate Fighter is co-produced by UFC and Liaoning Radio Television and will premiere this December on Liaoning Satellite TV, reaching more than 830 million viewers across China at weekend prime time. The live Finale event to determine the inaugural champion of The Ultimate Fighter China will take place at The Venetian Macao’s Cotai Arena in March 2014. Cotai Strip Resorts Macao and Marina Bay Sands are the presenting sponsors of The Ultimate Fighter China, the result of a multi-year partnership between Sands China Ltd. and UFC.
MMAinAsia has the inside word on the cast.
From top left:
Left to right (top):
Albert Cheng - Canadian MMA fighter with a record of 2-2.
Allen Chong - Grappler from Malaysia who started his own academy there>
Dong Xin - Earned wins in China’s CMFA and UFA.
Fu Chang - Shuai jiao competitor.
Left to right (Bottom)
He Wei Jian - Sanda competitror.
Li Jin Ying - Claw necklace.
Li Jun Han - Taiwanese grappler who transitioned to MMA.
Ning Guang You - Art Of War, Legend FC, and RUFF veteran.
Left to right (top):
Shih Liang -
An Ying Wang - National Muay Thai champion, placed fifth in the China National Sanda Tournament in 2012.
Wang Sai - Trains at Ole Laursen’s camp in Thailand, Legend FC and PXC vet. He recently defeated Glenn Ranillo in PXC.
Wu Qi Ze - PXC veteran.
Left to right (Bottom):
Yang JianPing - China’s pin-up idol (google him).
Yao Zhi Kui - Jiu-jitsu based RUFF fighter
Zhang Lipeng - Chinese MMA icon
Zhi Qing Xiang - Seasoned MMA fighter on the Chinese circuit.
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The 16 fighters will be split into two teams of eight, with opposing coaches. The first Chinese fighter in the UFC, Zhang Tie Quan, will coach one team. Chinese fighting icon Ao Hai Lin (8-0) will coach the other. Fighters will be in the lightweight and welterweight divisions.
Mark Fischer, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of UFC Asia, provides an overview.
“We saw some pretty impressive talent from around Asia in our tryouts in Beijing, Singapore and Macau," said Fischer. "Through The Ultimate Fighter China, we are not only developing the next generation of Chinese UFC fighters, but also introducing UFC to millions of new fans across the region.”