Representatives from World Series of Fighting held a press conference in The Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square in Beijing this past July to announce efforts to bring its brand of world class MMA to the Asian market.
The press conference was hosted by Sun Zhengping of CCTV Sports and was attended by over 100 people. Attendees included Tang Guoqiang; Chairman of the China Actor’s Committee, Gong Jianzhong; Vice President of China Public Diplomacy Association; Wang Jianhua, National Development and Reform Commission; Sun Wenbing, State General Administration of Sports; Dr. Richard Lee, President of Chinese CEO Organization; and Yu Wansheng, philanthropist and one of China’s top ten art collectors.
Former NBA and Chinese basketball star Tracy McGrady provided a video speech in partnership support and welcoming WSOF to China. Albert Hung, prominent Hong Kong tycoon, also provided an official letter of support. This immediately led to the opening of its Greater China headquarters in the Hainan province of China, and the founding of World Series of Fighting Global Championship (WSOF-GC).
The State Council, China’s Cabinet, issued a national development plan for the sports industry in October last year, urging the General Administration of Sport of China to loosen its grip on the untapped market of MMA and allow businesses and private investors to enter the industry that has been long-dominated by State-owned companies.
Shawn Wright, President of WSOF Global and one of the partners of MMAWC, the parent company of World Series of Fighting, has exercised exclusive ownership licensing rights to promote events, and the WSOF brand, outside of the United States. With WSOF having previously promoted events in Canada and Nicaragua, Wright believes now is the time for a new team to expand those initial efforts into other markets, with an immediate focus on Asia before planning to move to other areas of the world. “We are the WORLD Series of Fighting. We need to honor that name by promoting more events and fighters outside of the United States,” Wright said in a statement. “By promoting events in other regions around the globe with World Series of Fighting Global, we hope to build WSOF’s brand outside of the United States, not detract from it.”
Darren Owen, Director of Operations at World Series of Fighting Global, expanded on Wright’s comments adding, “We want to ensure that people understand who we are and what we are doing. Whereas the current team in place at WSOF in the United States will continue to run their operations, WSOF-GC is an entirely new organization associated with them by licensed name only. We don’t share the same staff, fighters, commentators, etc. We also aren’t in any competition with them and have a professional and personal interest in seeing them succeed as well.”
That does not mean that the opportunity for cross promotion is not there. Owen continued, “Once we have established ourselves separately from them and crowned our own champions, we are happy to issue or welcome any challenges from WSOF USA or any other organizations for that matter.” Wright added, “It’s honestly time that more organizations and teams from around the world had more global recognition. At the end of the day, we just want to find out who the best fighter is, whether they compete in WSOF-GC or another organization. We hope we can work with other organizations to bring those champions together under one common goal, the promotion of MMA.”
WSOF-GC will host its inaugural event in Haikou, Hainan province of China, on November 21.