These days, the United States is the heart of the worldwide MMA scene. The UFC, Bellator, World Series of Fighting, and many regional organizations have many of the world’s best fighters under contract. But beyond the North and South American continents, you can find strong and active MMA organizations. Besides Europe with Cage Warriors, KSW, M-1, and BAMMA; Asia could be the next big thing in MMA.
The whole area has a big pool of talented fighters and a long history in martial arts at its disposal, and with ONE Championship, there is also a local organization that can look back at a very successful year in 2014.
But ONE Championship is not the only big player that wants to get its piece of the cake. Chinese organization Kunlun FC is the latest to appear on the scene. Similar to Bellator FC, Kunlun FC seems to have a major sponsor on its side. As Ali Elazzabi, who is responsible for the public relations of Kunlun, said, Kunsun media has been a major sponsor for Kunlun FC and has ambitious goals.
One of the long-term goals of Kunlun FC is becoming the number one kickboxing platform of the world. In addition, the organization plans to educate the Chinese fans in the sport of MMA. During their events, they put three to four MMA fights on the card to get the attention of the average Chinese viewer.
In 2014, they held 17 events all over the world: in Thailand, China, the Philippines, and Belarus. For 2015, 24 events are planned. There are three appearances in Europe, including Italy, France and Slovakia, and one trip to Dubai.
There are already a few great names on the fight cards. On April 12, Thai legend Yodsanklai Fairtex faced Belgian-Armenian Glory veteran Marat Grigorian.
With that said, Kunlun FC is serious about building its name in the world of martial arts. Can they compete with the brand leaders UFC and Glory? For the moment, probably not, but the longterm possibilities are promising.
With the combination of a good financial background, intelligent management, and the huge Chinese market, Kunlun could be a serious challenger, but only time will tell.