The Ultimate Fighting Championship is coming to town! Chinatown, that is. To kick off a week-long press tour, the first media presser was held at Epic MMA Gym in the metropolis of Hong Kong, Bruce Lee’s defacto home and therefore arguably the birthplace of Mixed Martial Arts. The event itself will be held in the neighboring destination-city of Macau, SAR, China, known as the Vegas of the East (and to Chinese citizens as “Men’s Disney World”) on November 10th.
Appearing at the event were Executive Vice President and Managing Director for Asia Mark Fischer and Edward Tracy, President and CEO of Sands China Ltd., parent of the Venetian Macao Resort Hotel and casino in whose CotaiArena the UFC event will take place. The headliners of the card also appeared, UFC veteran and Hong Kong/China action star Cung Le and his opponent the former Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin. The UFC’s first China signee Zhang TieQuan of China Top Team also appeared, garnering most of the attention due to his extreme popularity in the country as a trailblazer. His opponent was announced to be a new signee, Jon Tuck from Guam, who has fought numerous times in Asia with much success, which previously landed him a shot on The Ultimate Fighter. The fourth fighter making an appearance was Kim DongHyun, a Korean Team MAD powerhouse with a 15-1-1 record in the sport, who will face Brazilian Paulo Thiago.
Fischer stated that Macau was an ideal place for the UFC to hold its first event in China due to the CotaiArena facilities and that it is located within 2-3 hours of 2 billion people, and said that the UFC was looking into a show in the mainland after a few peripheral shows. He also stated that the UFC has a commitment to help develop the talent within China which it has already started with an earlier hosting of several fighters in Las Vegas gyms, and that it will be sending UFC coaches to Chinese gyms in the near future.
In the question and answer section, the mainstream media was rather demure, and the enquires were of a broad nature from Sands’ expectation of the events to what the sport of MMA meant to each athlete. The UFC provided a very detailed press packet that should help the mainstream media better understand a sport that is relatively overlooked in the region. The photo ops brought out the energy as photographers crowded the stage to get the best shot. As a prelude to the action, the athletes gave short workouts and then provided a chance for individual interviews.
UFC FUEL TV 6 will air live on UFC broadcast partners throughout Asia, and on UFC FUEL in the US on Saturday, November 11th.
Full Fight Card:
Lim HyunGyu versus Marcelo Guimares
Jeff Hougland versus Takeya Mizugaki
Tom DeBlass versus Riki Fukuda
John Lineker versus Yasuhiro Urushitani
Jon Tuck versus Zhang TieQuan
Kang KyungHo versus Alex Caceres
Mac Danzig versus Takanori Gomi
Paulo Thiago versus Kim DongHyun
Stanislav Nedkov verus Thiago Silva
Cung Le versus Rich Franklin