The UFC is officially making a serious and sustained play to break into the Chinese market. According to a report from SB Nation, tryouts for the first Chinese edition of The Ultimate Fighter reality competition show will take place this summer.
“According to the Chinese announcement, this edition of TUF will be broadcast on LiaoNing TV, and tryouts will be open for professional featherweight, lightweight, and welterweight fighters of Chinese descent, who can speak the language.
“Tryouts won’t just happen in mainland China, and it will instead be held on different countries to get most of the talent available. These multiple tryouts will happen on July 21 at the Metropark Lido Hotel in Beijing, July 25 at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore, and on August 3 at the Venetian Hotel in Macau,” they reported.
The TUF: China Finale, to be held in Macau, will be broadcast globally. Coaches for the season of TUF have not been announced so it is not yet publicly known if the UFC will choose to have English-speaking organization mainstays coach the prospects, or if they will search for coaches who can speak the native languages of the participants. As it stands, the only Chinese fighters currently on the UFC roster are Tiequan Zhang, who has lost his last three fights in the Octagon, and undefeated bantamweight prospect Jumabieke Tuerxun, who hasn’t competed for the promotion yet.
Sixteen fighters will be in the TUF: China house and will compete for a six-figure UFC contract. The fighters will be in the house for somewhere near six weeks and the season will last twelve episodes, according to the report.
In the past, the UFC has decided to change weight classes for TUF seasons in advance of filming based on turnout. Given that lighter weight competitors abound in the region, perhaps the organization will consider changing the weight range to include flyweights and bantamweights.
We’ll keep you posted as news develops. What do you say, nation? Will you be tuning in to see what China has to offer in the way of prank-pulling, binge drinking and MMA prospects with TUF: China? And how does one say “Let me bang, bro” in Putonghua?