The Beijing-based fighter has been dismissing traditional martial artists as frauds and even stated that he could even take on two or three fighters at a time. He also offered 1.2 million yuan ($174,000) in prize money to anyone who will be able to beat him in combat.
But while he may have impressed some with his fighting style, his continued heckling of martial arts disciples has sparked outrage among many observers and followers of various disciplines. Many view his proclamations against traditional martial arts as insults to what is highly considered as the foundation of traditional Chinese culture.
Observers point out that the aggressiveness of Xu’s fighting style is not meant to be forced to collide against the ways of martial arts practitioners. While MMA is a competitive combat sport, martial arts isn’t.
The government-backed Chinese Wushu Association stated on its website that the now viral fight “violates the morals of martial arts.” The same point was also expressed by the Chinese Boxing Association, reports The New York Times.
Chinese state news agency Xinhua blasted Xu saying he was a “crazy guy” in an article, stating that the match had people questioning the importance of the Chinese martial arts.
It is now reported that the widespread backlash has caused the MMA fighter to go into hiding. His Weibo account has also been taken down following his recent tirades as Chinese authorities have reportedly begun clamping down on the issue. Observers believe that the government’s involvement may put a leash on Xu for good.
“I’ve lost everything, my career, and everything,” he was quoted in a message circulating on Chinese social media. “I think many people misunderstand me. I’m fighting fraudulence, but now I’ve become the target.”