Saturday, March 05, 2011

The UFC and the Future of the Mongolian Wolf

The UFC might have just found their Yao Ming.

Since entering the Chinese market in 2009 with its initial broadcasting deal, the UFC has found the Chinese market tricky but full of potential in its future plans.

About a week ago when looking through my google news feed, I saw that a Chinese guy had just won a quick victory in the UFC. (video) Since then there has been an increasing amount of coverage in online and tv media on the "Mongolian Wolf," Tie Quan Zhang. The idea of a rugged Chinese guy beating up on the best fighters in the world really makes for good TV in China (just watch the movie 叶问2 that recently came out). He really might have the potential to be that spark that blows up the China market for the UFC.

Chinese people love their heroes and winners. In a country that only really cares about gold medals and being number 1 (theres even a mineral water brand thats the Chinese pronunciation of the English, "number one"), anyone who has the potential to be among the best in the world stage is quickly embraced and looked up to.

Yao Ming is famous by competing with Shaq in the NBA, Liu Xiang won the 1st gold medal for men in Olympic track & field, and Li-Ning built an entire global brand around his gymnastics exploits. Although Li Na and Zheng Jie are building the reputation for women's tennis, China really loves its male heroes. Thats the only explanation for the Chinese men's soccer team getting soo much funding.

This phenomenon this is a symptom of the Opium War/"century of shame" and Chinese male masculinity/identity issues. These issues influence society to the core - including current trends in growing male grooming products market. Chinese people believe that China has not re-assumed its rightful place in the world stage so any conquering hero that can assume this position (no matter how brief) is idolized. 

Not only can the Mongolian Wolf grow the UFC market access in China, his future potential for stardom and fame is greater than both Yao Ming and Liu Xiang. If he dominates in the ring in hand to hand combat, it will outshine winning any race or dunking on any player. Zhang Tie Quan is what the Chinese have been waiting for. And with a nick-name like Mongolian Wolf, how could he fail?


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LA Guy said...

Hi Mike,

Just wanted to say Hi from LA, Ca and thank you for your interesting and informative viewpoints on China.
I'm glad after a 2 year hiatus that you've found some time to share your experiences with us again.

Cheers, LA Guy

David M. Ginsberg, Esq. said...

Please consider me for inclusion in your lists of blogs as I am very pro China and love Shenzhen and want to move there. Any advice as to how to find a job? I am am international lawyer with 22 years of experience.

My blog

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Gabrielle Evelyn said...

Dear Mike,

Thanks a lot for such sharing~This is the first I come here.Cheers!

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czanandrie said...


My name is Callie Zanandrie. I'm a Producer for HGTV. We are going to film a new show for HGTV in Shanghai. I came across your blog where you post pictures from your trip to China and I wanted to see if you still had met any friends in Shanghai that you think might be interested in applying to be on the show. Maybe you could even post something on your blog about our casting call. Following is a press release. Please let me know if you or any of your Shanghai American Expat friends are interested in participating with the show.


Home & Garden Television (HGTV) is launching a new international series that features American expats telling their stories about what it’s like to live abroad.

HGTV Producers want to hear from fun, outgoing, enthusiastic Americans Expats who are living in Shanghai RIGHT NOW!

In each episode, our host will experience Shanghai through the eyes of expat families. From the design of your space (what features of your home are typical of properties in Shanghai?) to the lifestyle and culture of the area (what major life changes have you experienced as a result of your move? What do you do for fun?), the American Expats will give viewers a first hand look at what it’s like to live overseas.


HGTV International is a voyeuristic look at the stunning home properties and lifestyles of American expats. This program showcases home design, set within the hottest places to live around the world.

About the HGTV

HGTV, America’s leader in home and lifestyle programming, is distributed to more than 89 million U.S. households and is one of cable’s top-rated networks. is the nation’s leading online home and garden destination that attracts an average of 5.2 million unique visitors per month.


High Noon Entertainment, located in Denver Colorado, produces HGTV International. In addition to HGTV International, High Noon produces many other shows including VH1’s Tough Love; TLC’s Cake Boss; Food Network’s Unwrapped, Challenge; HGTV’s My First Place, House Hunters; You may learn more about High Noon at

If you’re interested or if you have any friends that might be in applying, please contact me immediately and email photos of you and your family along with photos of your home to: Callie Zanandrie – Producer

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Gary Rockwell said...


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Roger Olofsson said...

Good to know more about the history, thanks!!

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