Xu Xiaodong’s latest highlight-reel knockout of another dubious kung fu “master” has sparked the usual debate, but this time the Chinese MMA fighter has a right to be upset about some of the criticism. Many choose to mock “Mad Dog” for pulverising such weak and obviously inferior opponents all the time, which is fair. Though the 40-year-old will tell you that is the point – he is showing up these people for the frauds they are. Now, though, Xu finds himself having the defend his right to getting paid for doing it. Zheng Zhaoyu, a Chinese kick-boxing champion with the Kunlun Fight promotion, mocked Xu after he bludgeoned out-of-shape, 56-year-old Tian Ye last weekend, saying he should not accept money for such a “fake” fight. “You said you would not take any money from the fight,” Xu said in a social media video addressed Zheng. “If you have the guts, don’t take money from all your fights in future, you dare to do so? Xu Xiaodong accepts challenge to fight Zheng Zhaoyu after Chinese kick-boxer claims he could knock him out in 30 seconds “But I won’t fight without getting any money. I need to support my family and I am always true to everybody. Is there any fighting champion that does not fight for money?” It’s a fair point. Xu is gaining notoriety in China, and has had to deal with several altercations – some physical – with those looking to defend the honour of traditional martial arts. He said in an interview with Time magazine last November that he had to go into hiding with his family for their safety after being attacked by three men for 15 minutes. Many are desperate to see him humbled by a practitioner of kung fu, and Chinese tycoons have offered prize money of millions of yuan for anyone who can beat him. Xu Xiaodong bludgeons another kung fu ‘master’ as Chinese MMA fighter leaves 56-year-old looking like he’s trying Bird Box challenge That was the case last weekend with Tian Ye, who would have earned 30 million yuan if he had somehow done the impossible. In the end, Tian Ye had to make do with just his initial 3 million yuan appearance fee, which will have been of some comfort when he was shuffling through the airport the next day with bandages covering his nose and bruises and welts all over his ribs and legs. But if these guys can also profit off the whole thing, why shouldn’t Xu get a slice of the pie? There is huge interest in his exploits, and he deserves recompense for all of the time and work he has put in at his Beijing gym improving his craft. Some think Xu is wrong to try to monetise his mission to expose “fake kung fu”, but putting his fights on bigger platforms than just social media will draw more attention to the message he is trying to get across. While some see Xu’s actions as being arrogant and disrespectful to Chinese culture for challenging the effectiveness of traditional martial arts in fighting situations, he is proving some undeniable truths that many don’t want to accept. Xu Xiaodong could next face Yi Long – but this ‘fake Shaolin monk’ can actually fight Yes, some elements of traditional martial arts can help fighters, especially defensively – a lot of self-defence classes focus on wing chun and krav maga. But in a ring or a cage, you need to possess several other skills to stand a chance against a similarly trained opponent. Xu Xiaodong, the Chinese MMA fighter challenging fake kung fu, gets backing from Shaolin Temple monk Xu is not even that good at what he does, but that’s the point – he’s showing that mixed martial arts is a far more effective combat tool than kung fu. Pour scorn on him all you want for his methods, but to say he should be denied the right to earn a livelihood is silly. And let’s be honest – it’s not exactly the kind of shameful cash grab Floyd Mayweather pulled off on New Year’s Eve in Japan when the undefeated American boxer pulled in US$9 million for 139 seconds of work against the much lighter and smaller Japanese kick-boxer Tenshin Nasukawa. If people want to pay money in the hope they will see Xu get his comeuppance at the hands of a traditional martial arts practitioner, then there can be no argument he deserves a cut of the profits.