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Chinese network to promote mixed martial arts in Africa

By Sun Xiaochen | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2016-11-25 20:33

A new partnership between a Beijing technology company and a mixed martial arts organization will promote Chinese kung fu and MMA in Africa.

ONE Championship, a Singapore-based organization that hosts and promotes mixed martial arts events in the Asia-Pacific region, has announced that it will join forces with StarTimes, a major technology provider and network operator in China's media industry.

The collaboration will deliver MMA digital content, including fights participated by Chinese athletes to new markets in Africa.

Thanks to its digital media network covering 30 countries and regions in Africa, StarTimes provides a wide range of sporting content including live broadcasts of the German Bundesliga and Italian Series A through five sports channels in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Boasting deep cultural roots in Chinese kung fu, mixed martial arts is a full-combat sport featuring various fighting styles including punching, kicking and grappling. It has enjoyed a surging popularity in China, where Chinese fighters like Li Kaiwen and Ma Jiawen have become MMA stars.

StarTimes vice president Guo Ziqi was confident the intriguing action of the sport coupled with the Chinese culture behind its brutal appearance will appeal to new audiences in Africa.

"As MMA and combat sports like boxing are gaining popularity in not only Asia but also Africa, we built our Sports Arena channel dedicated to presenting these sports to African viewers," she said on Friday.

"StarTimes is convinced that ONE Championship will attract a huge number of viewers in Africa. It will be a perfect platform to carry Chinese martial arts and bring sporting events with Chinese elements to people all over the world," she said.

Chinese fighters Li and Ma, who have both signed on exclusively with ONE Championship, will be expected to fight in live events hosted in Africa in the future.

ONE Championship chief exective Victor Cui, said the sport's potential in China and African countries is phenomenal.

"We continue to push the boundaries of mixed martial arts in Asia and are extending our reach to fans in Africa. There is a huge potential for growth in Africa and obviously in China. The growth of the sport is one of the key factors in helping nations develop their local sporting industries and ONE is proud to lead the charge," he said.

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