“We talked about pay-per-view last year and actually had (Zuffa owners) Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta’s blessing. But we decided to wait because we really wanted a (fight) card and main-event fight that reflected the WEC. And I wanted it to be a fight that people definitely wanted to see. I think we have that…The decision as far as the pricing came from Lorenzo and Dana…They felt our product is every bit as good as the UFC’s since we’re actually a part of the UFC, and they felt the value is there…You know what you’re going to get with a WEC card. We always hear that our cards never disappoint. So we felt it should be priced similarly, especially with a card of this magnitude…We certainly won’t have the same model the UFC does. I think the bulk of WEC shows will be on free TV on Versus, and maybe a couple times per year – maybe more in the future – we’ll go to pay-per-view depending on how the company grows and the fight cards we have…But it also means the growth of the sport benefits. The same people criticizing the pay-per-view (plans) are the same ones thinking there should be more than one organization out there. This will help the sport grow, and it gives the lighter-weight guys the platform they need for more exposure and the chance to make big money.”
—Reed Harris, via MMA Junkie, attempting to justify WEC 48’s $44.99 price tag
I’ll give Harris this, WEC 48 is a great line-up and should turn out to be a highly entertaining night of fights, but is it worth $44.99? That’s up to the fans to decide and they’ll surely vote with their wallets on April 24.
WEC officials shouldn’t set their expectations too high though. Zuffa has positioned the UFC brand as the premier organization in mixed martial arts essentially manipulating the casual fan base into believing MMA is the UFC, and they’ve done a damn good job of it. If that’s you’re strategy though, don’t expect those same fans to go drop even more money on your other organization with fighters they’re pre-programmed not to care about because they’re not “ultimate fighters.” You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
Image via CombatLifestyle.com