The UFC plans to put Cung Le front and center for the first Chinese edition of “The Ultimate Fighter.”
Sources with knowledge of the situation told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that Le, a former Strikeforce champ and current UFC middleweight, will serve as a coach on the reality show’s fourth international edition, which currently is casting and is set to begin filming later this year.
On Monday, UFC President Dana White told MMAjunkie.com Le would be a good fit for “TUF: China” and said there was “a real good chance” that he would lead a squad of fighters hoping to secure a UFC contract.
UFC officials recently put out the word that the promotion is holding auditions this month for featherweight, lightweight and welterweight talent to try out for the show, which will air on the Chinese-language Liaoning TV. Auditions are being held in Beijing, Singapore and Macao.
The latter of those locations is where the Vietnam-born Le made his most recent appearance in the octagon. In the UFC’s first event held in China, he knocked out ex-champ Rich Franklin in the main event of UFC on FUEL TV 6.
The former Strikeforce middleweight champion now is 2-1 in the promotion.
It is not yet known who might coach opposite Le – or if the UFC will go a different route from previous versions of the reality competition and have him as a lone figurehead-type coach for the contestants.
In addition to his MMA career, Le also is an actor who has appeared in several martial arts films distributed across Asia. In China, he’s been reported to have over 500,000 followers on Weibo, the country’s version of Twitter. He also said one of his films, “Bodyguards and Assassins,” broke a box office record set by martial arts star Jet Li.
Leveraging that notoriety on a TV show undoubtedly is the UFC’s aim as it expands into China.
“TUF,” which enters its 18th U.S.-based season in September, also has featured three international editions with two in Brazil and a U.K. vs. Australia version. A Canada vs. Australia version also recently was announced for 2014.
For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Cung Le)
view original article >>