UFC Asia Managing Director Talks About Finding Stars In China
Posted by Joseph Lee on 02.28.2014
The next Yao Ming...
In an interview with USA Today, Cung Le and UFC Asia Managing Director Mark Fischer spoke about the UFC's efforts to find the next big MMA star in China. Fischer noted that the NBA had more success in the country when they found Yao Ming in 2002 and gave the country a hero, so he is hoping the UFC can do something similar. Here are highlights:
Le on Chinese MMA fighters: "A lot of these Chinese athletes are just as good as any other athletes around the world. They get picked from a big batch. These are the top-notch guys, and the only thing they're missing is coaching. … There are some camps, but the fighters haven't really been getting the experience that they need. Now that the UFC is coming in, these fighters are going to want to be a part of the UFC, and they're going to figure out where everybody is training."
Fischer on building the UFC in China: "These events are an investment in the Chinese market. The cards and ‘The Ultimate Fighter: China' series are intended to really develop the sport and serve as a foundation for much bigger growth in the future. I think that's what we're achieving here."
Le on China accepting MMA: "I think the culture will accept it because it's very rich in traditional martial arts, and they'll realize that this is the evolution. When you see guys kicking, punching, throwing takedowns and all kinds of different moves, they're going to be into it. Obviously the first season of ‘TUF: China' did pretty decent (TV ratings). People were interested."