There’s been a lot of talk recently about Zuffa folding some of the heavier weight classes from the WEC into the UFC. Dana White confirmed those rumors, and stated the WEC light heavyweight and middleweight divisions would merge with the UFC’s.
It turns out that wasn’t the only big news the UFC President has about the WEC though. White revealed to Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports that they are planning on holding their first WEC pay-per-view event next year, and despite the roster reductions, they still plan to hold as many events as this year, if not more.
Zuffa’s decision to trim the WEC from six divisions (light heavyweight, middleweight, welterweight, lightweight, featherweight and bantamweight) to four by folding its light heavyweight and middleweight divisions into the UFC, however, will make it that much harder to fill cards.
That’s particularly true given White’s plan to add pay-per-view shows to the WEC’s offerings, perhaps as early as May.
Since Zuffa bought the WEC, it has put on 11 live events in 20 months. The 12th will be on Sept. 10 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., when Faber defends his title against Mike Brown.
White, who holds as tight a rein on the WEC as he does over the UFC, said he’s not certain exactly how many WEC cards Zuffa will stage in 2009.
Laughing, though, he said, “We’re still figuring that out, but I can tell you this: It’s not going to go down.”
Iole goes on to argue that the WEC doesn’t have the roster to fill an increase in the number of cards or enough high profile stars to do well on pay-per-view. I can’t disagree. Throwing Urijah Faber and Miguel Torres on a pay-per-view card might not do too bad, but they can’t have them headline every single one either.
So how will they pull it off? White, apparently, just plans on using the same proven formula that made the UFC a success.
“We have a track record and all you have to do is see what we’ve done in the past to know what we’re going to do with this thing. There are a lot of moving parts right now. I have a million and one things on my plate. But I know this: The WEC is stacked with talent and there are a lot of exciting fights that we can make.
“We’re going to do what we do and market the (expletive) out of this and build it day by day. The fighters are there, too, believe me. We’re not new at this thing.”
This is rather interesting because the majority of the casual UFC fan base doesn’t know the UFC and the WEC are owned by the same people. It will be interesting to see if the WEC struggles on pay-per-view like all the other non-UFC promotions that have tried and failed because they’re not the UFC brand, or if Zuffa really does know something the others don’t.
The question that has to be asked though is, are people willing to buy more than one pay-per-view a month? Would you?