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Will the UFC takeover help WEC succeed?

As the WEC prepares to find out whether it is a viable pay per view product this weekend, it’s lost a whole lot of its WEC-ness. Standard boring suit and WEC president Reed Whoever has been replaced by boisterous, video blogging Dana White. Todd Harris and Frank Mir (who kinda had his talking license revoked earlier anyways) are out of the booth, making way for first stringers Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan. Nasal Hispanic Dude: Gone. Bruce Buffer: In da house. Hell, even the WEC name has been pushed off of half the promotional material in what I can only describe as a strange attempt to make UFC-only fans give more of a shit. Trying to find the WEC in ads and videos for this PPV event is akin to playing a game of Where’s Waldo now.

While some people seem to think this is kinda backwards, I don’t really give a shit. Anything that pushes the two Zuffa promotions from pretending they’re separate companies is A-OK by me. Plus Dana White is way better at building press because he releases actual news to go along with the mandatory “I have been training hard and I think I will win” talk no one cares about from fighters. News like this:

“As we start to add more weight divisions to the WEC – when we start adding lighter weight divisions – that [155] pound division would probably make sense just to put it into the UFC,” White said.

And this:

“This is our first time doing this, so we don’t know how this is going to do. But yeah, the WEC fighters on this card will make more money than they’ve ever made before.”

And my personal favorite since this is what I wanted to know: what Zuffa is hoping for in terms of pay per view buys and how it will affect future WEC plans:

White won’t say exactly how many pay-per-view buys the event needs in order to be considered a success, though he did say that it would be “terrible” if Aldo and Faber didn’t at least double the numbers from the Roy Jones Jr.-Bernard Hopkins fight (which pay-per-view whisperer Dave Meltzer estimates did around 90,000 buys).

White also says that this isn’t an experiment, but rather a “long-term strategy.” Then again, he admits that “if we put on this event and we lose money, yeah, we’re going to be a little deterred” when it comes to planning future shows.

It all makes for an interesting story that compliments the very strong WEC card coming up this weekend. Will it be enough to make 180,000 people shell out 45 bucks to watch the event? Keep in mind that it’s virtually unheard of for a non-UFC mixed martial arts event to even come close to cracking six figures in PPV sales – the one event I know of that managed to limp over that milestone was Affliction’s first show. Ironically enough, the UFC might learn first hand this weekend how hard it is to succeed when you’re not the UFC.