UFC strawweight champion Weili Zhang has confirmed that her request for a visa to enter the United States has been rejected.
Zhang (20-1) became the queen of the strawweights on August 31 when she defeated Jessica Andrade in just 42 seconds to become the first ever Chinese-born champion in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. It was a monumental moment for the development of mixed martial arts in Asia, and it was seen by many as a turning point for Weili’s star power within the sport.
Alas, as confirmed by the champ herself on Instagram, she has been unable to gain an American visa despite her best efforts.
See the official post below:
“My American visa was refused again. I don’t know why. Is it the wrong type of visa I should apply for? Or because I’m a single woman? Or is the visa officer in a bad mood at work today?” Zhang said. “I hope this can be resolved so I can visit and get to meet some of my new friends and fans in America. We are still working on it and hope to have good news in time for me to make the trip on Oct 15th.”
It’s not all doom and gloom, though, with Zhang revealing in a comment on the post that Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard has reached out to her team in an attempt to get the issue resolved.
“Wow!” Zhang wrote. “I just received news from my manager that miss @tulsigabbard contacted him to try and help us. Thank you thank you miss Tulsi”.
Her manager Brian Butler issued the following statement to MMAJunkie in relation to the story.
“At this time we have been denied a visa to come here for the media tour next week. We believe that there was some miscommunication of some sort that caused red flags to raise to cause the denial. We are not quite sure what that is but we are working through the process as we speak. The UFC legal department is working on it and presidential candidate/congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard also responded to me and is trying to help on her end.”