On Monday, the possible fight of the century, pitting traditional Chinese martial arts against mixed martial arts, was stopped by Shanghai police, just 10 minutes before it was scheduled to take place.
The unlicensed fight would have matched four Tai Chi masters, led by Ma Baoguo, against four MMA fighters, led by Xu Xiaodong.
Xu Xiaodong and Ma Baoguo
Xu is the ruthless 38-year-old MMA promoter, fighter and coach who infamously beat one Tai Chi “master” to the floor in 10 seconds back in April, igniting a national debate over the combat effectiveness of traditional Chinese martial arts. The defeated “master,” Wei Lei, made a variety of excuses for his humiliating loss where he failed to land a single blow, including that he was wearing new shoes and slipped and that he had been holding back his true power in order to not kill his opponent.
To show that the fight was not a fluke, Xu issued a challenge immediately afterward to any traditional Chinese martial arts masters who believed that they could take him down in a no-holds-barred fight. Xu even bragged that he was willing to take on two or three “masters” at the same time to prove to the world that they are nothing but frauds.
To defend the honor of their disciplines, a number of martial arts experts stepped forward to accept the challenge, while one traditional Chinese martial arts supporter and tycoon even pledged 10 million yuan in prize money for the event. However, Xu’s Weibo account was blocked and he soon went quiet about his challenge with supporters believing that his silence had been forced.
But Xu is apparently still intent on finishing what he started. A video posted to YouTube shows Xu and other fighters getting ready for the well-attended event inside a Shanghai gym before the lights are suddenly shut off and police raid the venue.
In another video, Xu is seen talking with officers who ask him to come with them. After warning police not to push him, Xu is escorted out of the venue.
Afterward, Xu said that it was a nephew of one of the Tai Chi masters who told police about the fight, calling June 26th a day of “shame” for martial arts. Earlier, the Chinese Martial Arts Association spoke out against the planned fights, saying that arranged private fights are a violation of the law as well as “Tai Chi morality.”
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