nity there has already produced great fighters," he continued, "It's a place where government and society respect and support athletes. Honestly, I expect Chinese MMA to be a powerful force internationally in just a few years from now. Other countries, Asian or not, just don't have the same momentum for sport."
Seeing this development and potential, the UFC has been dead set on penetrating the market. They've hosted UFC: Macau late last year, and they're set to film The Ultimate Fighter: China in Beijing with athletes coming from different areas such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, and the Mainland.
Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar worked as a huge catalyst for the sport in the US, although it is yet to be seen if the same formula can be applied to China.
"I am curious to see for myself." Vaughn says, as he talks about the potential of TUF: China, "One major part of TUF's success in the US is the madness filmed outside of the cage. With Chinese fighters more reserved and polite, I'm not sure how they will make this show entertaining."
If done right, TUF could truly be huge for the future of the sport in China. As for the show getting the current batch of top fighters in the country though, that's a completely different story, as most of them are already under contract with various promotions such as RUFF, Legend FC, and others.
"The simple answer is that the UFC will get the second generation of Chinese superstars," Vaughn said, as he spoke about the quality of fighters that they're likely to sign, "Some top fighters may end up in the UFC, but it is tough competing within China. RUFF fighters are extremely well paid, and there are fighters like Wang Sai who are getting 10,000 USD to fight in shows around the country even I haven't heard of."
"Life for a Chinese MMA fighter is a good one. The UFC is not as tempting for fighters here," he says as he talks about the options that are available to the talent in the country.
"There are just a few consistent MMA shows in mainland china, but there are many one-time events or short series that test the market and pull out." he coninues, "Almost none of the Mainland events are recorded on Sherdog too. Look at Bieke for example, he has almost 30 fights with all wins, but they list him as only 14-0 with half his wins not recorded."
Now considering these situations, who would likely be making waves internationally?
"Wang Sai is a good pick. He has tons of fans, kicks a lot of ass, and isn't tied down to any contracts,"
Most people would likely mention Vaughn's pupils in Bieke or Wang Guan, but when asked who he feels are the best Chinese MMA fighters regardless of promotion, he again gives props to a few guys outside his stable.
"I feel Ji Xian is probably the best well-rounded Chinese fighter now. He is already the Legend FC champ and has a lot of grow in him still. He is my first pick for top Chinese fighter after the UFC's Zhang Tiequan."