WEC signs first Chinese fighter for Sept. 30 event
In a press release sent out Friday the WEC announced the signing of Tiequan “The Mongolian Wolf” Zhang of Beijing, China. He is the first fighter from mainland China signed by the WEC.
Zhang will fight TUF alum Alex Karelexis at WEC 51 in Bloomfield, Colorado on September 30th.
According to the WEC Press Release:
Boasting a perfect record of 16-0, Zhang trains with China Top Team, a group led by former Brazilian Top Team member Ruy Menezes. His arrival in the WEC is a milestone not only for the organization, but also for Chinese mixed martial artists.
The signing of a top Chinese prospect is a logical step in the globalization of MMA. After the UFC announced it would establish operations in China with its offices in Beijing, it was only a matter of time that the UFC/WEC sign a fighter from China. This move will entice many Chinese fans to tune into WEC 51 (if they can) to see how Zhang will do against top competition. The signing of Zhang should create more interest in the Chinese fan base similar (but on a much smaller scale) to how Chinese fans were drawn to the NBA when Yao Ming first played in the NBA. The signing is a small step in a bigger plan for Zuffa to create inroads into the Chinese market.
For the WEC, it will help bolster a packed card in hopes of gaining viewership on Versus.