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Tonight at 9pm on Versus: The WEC. Tonight at 9pm on Spike: three hours of UFC Unleashed. What’s really funny is that this is a concession on Spike’s part: they were originally planning on premiering ‘UFC: The Best of 2007′ at the same time. But because they’re such nice guys, they moved the date on that and instead are just sticking with more UFC content.

This just underlines the weird struggles Zuffa finds itself in by running two separate and ‘equal’ promotions. Between inter-network sniping and WEC fighters like Jason Miller jumping ship because of their perception that the WEC is B-level, this whole WEC thing is probably starting to seem more and more like a headache than anything else.

I really like the product, and I understand that the WEC exists as a way to tie up talent in the lower weight classes and to keep other promotions from getting a TV deal with Versus. But I am wondering how long until Zuffa gives up on trying to create the perception of the WEC as equal to the UFC?

Once they drop that farce, they’ll be able to trade fighters back and forth between the promotion with ease and use the WEC as a way to build new stars and keep fallen stars from ending up with other companies (all the while dangling the possibility of getting a call back to the big show if performances are deserving). Champions could graduate into the UFC during special inter-promotional shows. Instead of a steady stream of new faces appearing on UFC events, fighters would come into the big leagues with experience and a fan base built in already.

Anyways, that’s just how I see it. Too bad they’re stuck trying to create an illusion of equality with the UFC.

  • frickshun

    You are so dead on about this. Nothing more to say.

  • Thomas

    Its the 800 pound elephant in the room.
    Everyone familar with the UFC and WEC knows that the WEC is weaker. WEC is a baby compared to the grown up UFC. But if you were to use the WEC to send down UFC rejects no good fighters will want to sign.

  • nem0

    If they made it clear that the WEC was a combination of a “minor league” for the higher weight classes, and a home for the lower weight classes that, I dunno, don’t pull in as much money as the LHWs or whatever, it wouldn’t look so weird to the viewers. I mean, hell, do the casual fans even know Zuffa owns the WEC? Or watch the WEC at all?

  • MacDaddy

    is this shit on TV in Canada at all?

  • fightlinker

    I think WEC is on the Fight Network

  • Dru Down

    Totally agree. I feel like a lot of the lower-level TUF alums would be a perfect fit for the WEC. They would bring in a built-in fan base and name recognition (which is the one thing the already well-produced WEC needs) and in turn, the WEC would provide them with more equitable competition until their skills catch up to their exposure and they can be reintroduced into the UFC.

    I’m talking names like Bonnar, Herman, Burkman, Grove, Swick- possibly even Michael Bisping. These guys are gonna get beat up by the top names in their divisions with their current skillsets. The WEC would allow them a chance to grow as fighters, put together some nice records against solid B-level guys, and mature to the point that they could contend in the UFC.

  • Jeremy (not that Jeremy)

    Nothing wrong with the WEC.

    Part of the problem is the actual media contracts themselves. WEC can’t become UFC^2 until the existing contracts wrap up. My expectation is that besides a re-branding, though, not much is going to change.

    You’re still going to see guys coming in from Japan to WEC from organizations like Pancrase or Shooto or ex Pride Bushido guys. There’s no shame in admitting that you’re in that class. They put on some good shows with up and coming fighters.

  • Jeremy (not that Jeremy)


    WEC already got rid of the Heavyweight and Super Heavyweight titles that they used to have, and I don’t see the point in collapsing the Light Heavyweight division into UFC, because that division probably has too many active fighters in it already. If anything, you need to take some of those guys down to WEC just to open up the schedule a bit.

    And if you’re going to keep the WEC light heavyweights, then it would be hard to justify doing away with the divisions between that and their exclusive divisions.

  • frickshun

    One thing that the WEC does is diversify the reach of MMA from a TV standpoint. UFC gets to put a different brand on a different channel & bring in ad revenue w/o whoring their own brand throughout the whole show.

  • MacDaddy

    Nope it’s not on the fight network listings

  • Xavier

    Definitely agree. They should also promote some fights as “redemption” fights to get back into the UFC. That would make a non-title fight seem much more urgent.

  • Beastieboy

    I will say that I’ve learned more in 2 rounds listening to Frank, then I have learned in all the PPV’s with Mike and Joe. Yeah, crazy idea having the color guy who has actually been in the cage. Rolling around with Bravo doesn’t count Joe . . .

  • Jeremy (not that Jeremy)

    So, what would you think about the loser of Silva and Liddell going to the WEC Light Heavyweight division?