After Rumble in the Bronx got everyone kung fu fighting and traveling to China to experience kung fu, qi gong and tai chi first-hand, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, a name practically as widespread now as Hulk Hogan's was back in the 80's, has everyone talking about the newest sports/entertainment craze to emerge—MMA (mixed martial arts).
Long unsanctioned and practically illegal in China, things changed for China's MMA athletes on Monday December 6, when RUFF (Ranik Ultimate Fighting Federation) announced a long-awaited breakthrough, and a world first: official recognition and licensing of the sport by China's Wushu Association of the General Administration of Sport and the possibility for an athlete to become China's national MMA champion. No other country currently offers a national MMA champion title.
On December 7, RUFF held a press event complete with demo fights, ring girls and an introduction to MMA rules and fighter safety principles for the Chinese press. Also unveiled was the RUFF championship belt and news that RUFF Genesis, China's first government-sanctioned MMA event, will be going down March 5, 2011—that's a date every MMA fan in the country should mark on their calendar.
For those traveling to China, especially anyone with an interest in MMA, the PRC's sanctioning of this new combat sport means the chance to see some of the top martial arts talents from China's huge variety of disciplines going toe-to-toe, not to mention the opportunity to see just how various Chinese martial arts hold up against more conventional disciplines popular in the sport now such as boxing, wrestling, Brazilian jujitsu and muay thai.
For travelers already including such martial arts-oriented destinations as Wudang Shan and Shaolin Temple on their China travel itineraries, RUFF'S MMA events will add an exciting new source of entertainment. After watching monks snap spears with their necks, you can go watch a Mongolian wrestler take on a Xinjiangi Sanshou fighter.
Finally, us China expats won't have to crowd into a sports bars at 9:00 a.m. on a Sunday to take in our sport of choice!
Ranik Ultimate Fighting Federation official web page.