News > View News Item

Is China ready for cagefighting?
Posted on Mon, Sep 6, 2010 at 4:10 am
by IDMA Editor

Cage-fighting is coming to China. At least that’s the hope and intention of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the leading US promoter of the ‘art’ which involves two fighters in an octagonal cage using a variety of martial arts to beat the living cr*p out of each other.

I’d have almost thought this was a joke, but then I saw that UFC had hired Mark Fischer, the man who built up the NBA basketball franchise in China, to promote the sport in China and it’s neighbours in Asia.

As Mr Fischer told me when I met him today, promoting Cagefighting to the masses at least has the virtue of not being too complicated to explain – no tricky rules like in rugby or cricket.

“It’s very exciting and straightforward, it doesn’t take long to explain,” he says with a wry smile, “it’s just two guys going at it in a ring.”

I still can’t decide quite what China, the spiritual home of martial arts, will make of cage-fighting. My gut instinct says that many people will love it – just as they do in the US where fights attract up to 10m viewers and in the UK where they sell out big venues like the 02 Arena – but that the government will correspondingly hate the idea.

The powers-that-be here are currently waging a Politburo-level campaign against vulgarity in society, tackling everything from salacious gossip in newspaper to dating shows that concentrate overly on the material aspects of matchmaking.

Quite how cage-fighting, a sport that former US presidential candidate John McCain described as “human cockfighting” will fit into the harmonious, high-brow civilized Chinese society that President Hu Jintao envisages for the new China, I’m not quite sure.

Mr Fischer says that he and his organization are “cognisant of these issues”, hinting that the marketing for China will be a more subdued and a bit less blood-spattered than in the rest of the world, but then blood is part of the attraction, right?

UFC has already started grooming the first Chinese cage-fighting stars – a fighter called Tiequan “The Mongolian Wolf” Zhang is scheduled to make his debut in the US at the end of the month.

Even so, I suspect that an Asian version of cage-fighting will have to be carefully managed. I’m not sure how the Chinese public would react to one of their own getting beaten to a pulp a square-jawed American beefcake or – even worse – a Japanese one.

In fact, come to think of it, why not have a Japanese-Chinese bout staged at the Worker Stadium? Now that really would get the crowd’s bloodlust going.

All in all, sounds like quite an ambitious project to me, however if anyone has the guanxi among China’s sporting authorities to pull it off, it could be Mr Fischer.

Online Store Front: Gear, DVDs and More
The I Do Martial Arts School Program
Join I Do Martial Arts on Facebook
Follow I Do Martial Arts on Twitter
Open Black Belt World Championships
INSERT INTO http_requests (RequestDateTime, RequestMicroTimePart, RequestorUserId, RemoteIP, ReferingPage, RequestedURL, ScriptName, QueryString, PostDataPageAction, GetDataCourseId) VALUES ('2019-06-26 06:28:49', '0.01072900', '0', '', '', '/news/view_news_item.php?newsId=82', '/web/news/view_news_item.php', 'newsId=82', '', '' )
Incorrect integer value: '' for column 'getDataCourseId' at row 1