The Ultimate Fighter: China cast revealed, Cung Le to lead coaches

Cung Le hasn’€™t fought in a year, but he’s been busy€“ as one of the UFC’s ambassadors in Asia.

Le, the former Strikeforce middleweight champion who was born in Vietnam, will serve an important role as mentor and chief coach of both teams during the inaugural The Ultimate Fighter: China, which debuts Dec. 7, the UFC announced Sunday.

The 16-fighter cast was revealed and the UFC’s first Chinese fighter, Tiequan Zhang, and Chinese MMA star Hailin Ao will act as the two coaches. The contestants will consist of eight featherweights and eight welterweights.

Breaking into this market is massive for the UFC as China has a population of 1.36 billion, which is more than 19 percent of the entire world’€™s population.

The inaugural The Ultimate Fighter: China is a ground-breaking program an is an unprecedented initiative for any global sports league in China, said Mark Fischer, the executive vice president and managing director of UFC Asia.

TUF: China€ will be distributed by Liaoning Satellite TV, which reaches more than 830 million viewers in the country, according to the UFC release. It has not been announced whether the show will be available for viewing outside of China.

The list 16 cast members were selected from more than 150 applicants and hail from China, the United States, Canada and Malaysia.

The competitors include:

FEATHERWEIGHT

Chong Allen Solomon, 31, Malaysia

Fu Changxin, 21, China

Lee Chunhan, 26, Chinese Taipei

He Jianwei, 24, China

Ning Guangyou, 32, China

Shih Liang, 35, United States

Yang Jianping, 25, China

Yao Zhikui, 22, China

WELTERWEIGHT

Cheng Albert (Chang Kang), 27, Canada

Dong Xin, 21, China

Li Jinying, 26, China

Wang Anying, 22, China

Wang Sai, 27, China

Wu Qize, 25, China

Zhang Lipeng, 22, China

Zhu Qingxiang, 30, China