TUF China coaches announced
he format for the Ultimate Fighter China has finally been revealed. Much like other seasons Rookie Exposure will feature competing coaches overseeing teams of Lightweights and Welterweights in two side by side tourney's. MMA in Asia reports that the coaches for this seasons will be current UFC fighter Zhang Tiequan and retired former Art of War fighter Ao Hailin. Cung Le will oversee the season in a Dana-White-like role, with Chinese sportscaster and celebrity Huang Jianxiang hosting the show.
Hailin, who went undefeated under the Art of War promotion, hasn't fought in MMA since 2009. So, I'm not entirely sure if he'll be coming out of retirement for a UFC contract, or whether he's purely taking on a coaching role. He has a win over recent Bellator contestant Vaughn Anderson to his name, but otherwise his record is pretty bare. Since retiring Hailin has gone on to open his own gym where he coaches up and coming MMA fighters, the Ao Hailin MMA Club (also known as Fight Emperor). Two of the current cast members are already students of his, so it should be interesting to see what kind of relationship they'll have if he ends up coaching against them.
Zhang, for his part, is 2-4 under the Zuffa banner with zero notable wins to his name. He hasn't fought for the last year and I had sort of assumed that the UFC was keeping him sidelined just for this coaching gig. Wang Sai is a training partner of Tiequan Zhang's so both he and Hailin will have fighters they know well in the tournament. The first episode is set to premier at 10 pm China Standard Time on December 7. I doubt we'll be catching the premiere stateside, but hopefully we'll be able to find a few highlights as the season progresses.