Tiequan Zhang, the UFC's first Chinese fighter, celebrates his only UFC win at UFC 127.
The UFC is working hard to gain a foothold in the world's most populous nation. Its latest tool in that effort is its iconic reality TV competition.
A report from Dann Stupp of MMAJunkie.com states that the UFC will hold tryouts in July and August for a season of The Ultimate Fighter: China. The only prerequisites are that you must be 18 years old or older and have professional fighting experience, are not under contract with another promotion, can pass a drug test, can legally live and/or work in China, and speak fluent Mandarin/Putonghua Chinese.
The report also states:
Officials are searching for featherweight, lightweight and welterweight hopefuls to try out for the show, which will air on the Chinese-language Liaoning TV.
Last fall, the UFC hosted its first event in China, UFC on Fuel TV 6, in the special administrative region of Macau. That event is probably best known for Vietnamese middleweight Cung Le's surprise knockout of former champ Rich Franklin. The UFC has never promoted a fight in mainland China.
To date, Chinese fighters have not had much luck in the UFC.
Tiequan Zhang, mainly a submission wrestler, is 1-3 in the promotion, including three straight defeats, most recently at the event in Macau. In March, the UFC announced it had signed 25-year-old prospect Jumabieke Tuerxun (14-0) to a contract, though he has yet to make his Octagon debut.
The UFC opened a China bureau in 2010. Though China, along with the rest of Asia, has a rich martial arts history, the nation of 1.3 billion people has never produced an elite MMA fighter in the sport's modern era.
According to the MMAJunkie.com report, tryouts will take place July 21 in Beijing, July 25 in Singapore and August 3 in Macau. There is no word on when or whether TUF: China will be available to audiences outside of China.