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MMA UFC

UFC China Prelims One Step Away From Amateur

Jason Silva/USA Today

Jason Silva/USA Today

We’ve all heard the issues as it pertains to saturation of UFC events this year. The company’s aggressive move internationally and the transition to their digital Fight Pass service has both helped and hurt the company. As long as it keeps padding the UFC’s bottom line, don’t expect it to go anywhere.

Fight Pass has been a success, and it will only get better. In order for it to get better, the quality of talent presented on the service needs to match the price tag. Many coughed up $10 to watch a UFC Fight Night show from Macau, China, which featured Royston Wee (3-0) taking on Zhuiuki Yao (1-1). It was the night’s second bout and not the reason anyone purchased their Fight Pass subscription, but a 1-1 fighter (now 1-2) being on any UFC show seems nuts.

Many will point at the likes of Brock Lesnar, Kimbo Slice and James Toney, but those guys had name value. Zhuiuki Yao doesn’t, even in Asia. While the UFC has put their foot down and stated they’re continuing their pursuit of the Asian audience, doing it at the expense of the quality of their programming seems to defeat the purpose.

It has to be disheartening to know that if you’re an American or Brazilian fighter who has put in the hard work and sacrifice for years to earn a 10-2 record, a lesser qualified fighter is more likely to get the call overseas. MMA is still in its infancy as it pertains to talent in China, but the UFC trudges along.

It’s hard to say “find better Chinese fighters” because there simply aren’t around yet. The sport will expand in the area, and with the expansion comes improved talent. It’s just a matter of getting people interested.

China is a market that the UFC is wisely pursuing. Perhaps instead of featuring underwhelming hometown fighters who haven’t earned the spot, the company should instead spotlight accomplished and talented competitors to truly display what the sport is about.

Sean Ross Sapp is a contributor for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter or add him to your network on Google.