Shanghai (January 19, 2012) – In the birthplace of kung fu and such action fighting stars as Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li, the still-nascent sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) gained some muscle today when RUFF (Ranik Ultimate Fighting Federation), the first government-sanctioned professional MMA organization in China, announced a strategic partnership with L.A.-based Mandt Bros. Productions. RUFF and Mandt Bros. will collaborate on the creative development of the league and live events, with Mandt Bros. leading all television production, from one-off specials to a potential reality television series.
“This is a huge opportunity to help grow MMA in the most populous country in the world, where martial arts is already popular,” offered Neil Mandt. “Mandt Bros. has strong expertise in sports and reality television, with deep relationships with networks, sponsors, athletes and others, and we are thrilled to team with RUFF to bring all of our creative and production skills to China.”
In October 2010, after four years working with the Chinese government, RUFF founders and entrepreneurs Joel Resnick and Saul Rajsky secured the exclusive rights to produce and stage live, government-sanctioned, professional MMA events in China. RUFF produced its first two events in late 2011, which garnered television viewership of close to 20 million and 27 million, respectively. They anticipate that their third MMA fight, scheduled to take place in Chongqing on March 24, will reach a TV audience in excess of 60 million people.
Working with RUFF to engage investors, sponsors and other partners in gaining further traction across China, Mandt Bros. will help execute at least a half-dozen MMA events in 2012, which will include the crowning of official Chinese national champions across all weight classes.
For now, says Joel Resnick, it’s about developing Chinese fighters for Chinese fans. In the past, he says, “nobody was willing to build the fighters, give them a personality, and make them fan-favorites. It’s about showing ordinary kids that they can be the fighter, and you don’t have to be the biggest or strongest guy to win.”