Finally, someone's talking about something I've always wondered: Why are there no Chinese MMA fighters?
I'm sure there a thousand reasons. For starters, I wonder how much the Communist government makes it difficult to host events. Who knows what sorts of strange or prohibitive laws exist? Add to the fact that even if you have an event it's probably enormously difficult to promote or advertise it. And MMA fighting is surely not as lucratice there as other occupations. China is also still closed off to the outside world in many ways, although less and less so as globalization takes over.
But for a nationality with deep martial arts traditions (and they are deep), you'd think there would be at least a few significant names in MMA, no? Maybe not, but we may see it soon. According to That's Beijing magazine, there appear to MMA rumblings in the PRC. Notable quote:
"To the Chinese, martial arts is as familiar as ... these."The article goes on to say there is an upstart Chinese MMA promotion that's getting national television coverage and a Chinese fighter is in negotiations to fight in PRIDE (MMA is the perfect platform for the ferocious Sino-Japanese rivalry). There's no way to verify any of that, but if true, it'd be an excellent addition to MMA and the martial arts world.
He holds up his chopsticks.
"Put it this way, who are the biggest celebrities to come out of China?"
"Yao Ming?" I venture.
"Try Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li."
"Think about it this way, if I was to arrange a fight between Jackie Chan and Jet Li, how many Chinese people do you think would want to watch?"
Quite a few, I imagine.
"What I'm trying to say is, Chinese people have an opinion on martial arts ... it's something that's part of their culture, part of them. It's innate."
Hat tip: China Combat