The UFC has been dying to break into that widely untapped market in China, and today they took a step closer to their goal. Zuffa has officially announced today that The Ultimate Fighter: China will indeed be happening, with registration and tryouts to be held in the coming months.
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.
As with most editions of the reality show, 16 fighters will be selected for the Ultimate Fighter house for a chance to win a two-year 6-figure deal with the UFC. The season will have 12 episodes, with filming lasting around 6 weeks. The TUF: China Finale will be held at the Venetian Hotel in Macau, and like other international editions of TUF, this will be broadcasted live globally.
Possible coaches for this iteration of the long running MMA reality show haven't been announced yet, but they did mention established UFC stars to be placed among the coaching staff. If they do decide to pick Chinese fighters as head coaches though, there won't be much to choose from as the UFC only has two, with bantamweight prospect (14-0) recently joining Zhang Tiequan on their roster.
Although the final weight classes for the show can still change, it is interesting that they initially picked featherweight going up to welterweight for their tryouts, when most of the talent available in the region are mostly coming from lighter weights, usually from flyweight up to featherweight.
Another thing to consider is that while there are quite a few talented prospects such as RUFF champs Wang Guan (11-0-1) and Zhang Meixuan (5-1), along with Legend FC king, Ji Xian (11-2), it remains to be seen if fighters at this caliber can make it to the show, seeing that most top Chinese fighters are currently under contract with these promotions. They did cast a wide net by deciding to host tryouts in multiple countries though, as Chinese fighters from Mainland China, Singapore, Macau, Hong Kong, and even Malaysia will likely be able to make it those 3 tryout locations.