On December 19th, four men will enter the Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium in Beijing, China, and one man will leave. As a bonus, the new featherweight champion will have logged two professional fights and will probably still have time to catch a late movie.
The opening fight features Li Gen (0-0) vs. He Nan Nan (1-1). The second fight features Wang Ya Wei (0-0) vs. Li Kai Wen (0-0). The event marks ONE FC’s first venture into mainland China. CEO Victor Cui explained:
“ONE FC is set to become the first major mixed martial arts organization to make inroads into mainland China. We will launch a 10-city tour with a huge event in Beijing as a sign of things to come. China is a hotbed for mixed martial arts talent and I will not be surprised to see a ONE FC world champion from China in the near future.”
Wait one second, Cui. This tournament concept or yours is exciting and everything, but it’s not quite sparkly enough to distract even the most ravenous old-school fan from the fact that only one of these fellows has fought professionally. Yet here they are, ready to throw virgin fisticuffs for the right to claim the title in a legitimate organization. This is ONE FC, for God’s sake. Not TWO F.U.
But according to a report in August, almost all of China’s MMA fighters are farmers. He Nannan explained, “People from cities have money and do not want to fight.” So it’s not surprising that the local fighters haven’t found it easy to accumulate professional victories, despite having legitimate combat experience. And so, all that undocumented reality will have to sort itself out in a more formal tournament setting. May the best agriculturalist win.