Zhang Tiequan returned to Beijing after making his UFC debut in Australia last year and was in for a shock when he sat down at his computer.
Weibo is a social networking site in China, similar to Twitter. When Zhang logged into his account after returning home, he had 100,000 friend requests awaiting him.
In a country of 1.3 billion people, 100,000 might not seem like a significant number. But Zhang, who is working with the UFC in an effort to develop mixed martial arts in his country, expects that one day MMA will surpass basketball as the most popular sport in China.
And that’s also why the UFC is making such a concerted effort to develop Chinese talent. Zhang, along with Yao Honggang, Li Jinliang Li, A Mu Ri Ji Ri Ga La and Cui Liucai, are in Las Vegas for the month, training with some of the city’s top fighters and trainers.
The plan, according to UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, is to properly train the Chinese fighters so they can train others in an attempt to tap into the country’s love of martial arts...Full Story