The UFC has had its fair share of foreign-born champions, but UFC women's strawweight titlist Weili Zhang recently earned the distinction organization's first ever Chinese champ, making her quite the trail-blazer. But with that special status has come some serious difficulties.
Zhang announced via Instagram that she was recently denied a visa to enter the US, preventing her from attending a stateside media tour in the US next week. It turns out that help may be coming, however, in the form of US Representative for Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District and Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard.
A show of hands if you thought you'd be reading Zhang and Gabbard's names in the same news article at any point in your life. It's almost like a Mad Lib.
The media tour would give Zhang the opportunity to connect with MMA fans and better establish her brand, making the assist from the first Samoan-American and Hindu member of Congress that much more timely.
In addition to Gabbard, the UFC's legal department is working to help Zhang obtain clearance to travel to the US, per her manager, Brian Butler. It would look pretty bad if Dana White and Co. weren't able to promote one of their champions properly due to something as maddening as travel restrictions.
Just like Israel Adesanya did to Robert Whittaker, Zhang dispatched Jessica Andrade to become strawweight champion and improve to 20-1 at UFC's first visit to Shenzen in August. The 29-year-old has yet to defend her title.