One of the people who has offered support to Zhang during the visa situation is presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, who issued the following statement to MMA Fighting:
“Sports has always played such an important role in breaking down barriers between nations and people and increasing global cultural exchange. I’ve practiced martial arts since I was a kid and am glad to see how as mixed martial arts is becoming a global phenomena with platforms like the UFC and others, it is creating a sense of community with fighters and fans from around the world. This is increasing understanding, building friendships and providing the platform for people to appreciate how much we have in common, despite our cultural/racial/ethnic/political differences. I hope the U.S. State Department recognizes the value that fighters like Zhang Weili bring to this effort, who herself has made history and broken down barriers through her own accomplishments, by allowing her to come and join other UFC fighters and fans from across the US and around the world for the upcoming UFC Fight Night in Boston.”
There has been no further update yet from Zhang as to whether or not her visa situation has taken a turn for the better.
Brian Butler, who represents Zhang, says that the fighter applied for a different type of visa then compared to ones that she has used in the past and that may have lead to the issue.
“She had P1 visa to come here but that’s because she was competing and getting paid so she needed the work visa,” Butler said. “Apparently you have to get that redone every single time you come here from China and she didn’t realize that because she was coming to visit with no work involved. She went to apply for a B1 tourist visa and that may be the reason a flag got raised, we’re not sure yet. We’re trying to figure it all out.”
No time frame has been given yet by Zhang or her team as to when the visa situation may be resolved.