Chinese mixed martial arts has been developing at a decent pace, even without the UFC being involved. After a seven-year absence, Art of War Fighting Championship returned in 2016 and has already held three events this year in Beijing. Art of War 18 went down this past weekend and it included a crazy high-flying belly-to-back suplex from Muha Li on Martin Akhtar. Akhtar goes for one hell of a ride after Li got him around the waist and ragdolled him onto the mat.
Surprisingly, Martin Akhtar would go on to win the fight in what many have called an all-out war. How he managed to even stand up after that throw is beyond me. I think someone’s chiropractor is going to be getting a call today.
This is just another sign that the quality of MMA fighting in China is at a point where the UFC should consider coming into the country. One of the big rumors leading up to the UFC sale was that a Chinese partner would be involved to help bring the sport to the mainland. Thus far the UFC has held three events on the gambling island of Macau, and that’s it.
While there ended up being no big Chinese firms directly involved in the UFC sale, there’s still a connection between lead UFC buyer WME-IMG and Sequoia Capital China. We’ll have to wait and see if they have a better success cracking into the Chinese market than the UFC did under Zuffa ownership. From what we’re seeing with Art Of War, it’s definitely time.