Is there room for both the WEC and UFC?

posted by cradick on March-15-2010, 12:00am

With the recent ratings from WEC 47, I wonder if still makes sense for Zuffa to run the WEC. Very surprisingly, the ratings for WEC 47 were down 42% over their last event.

Initially, having the WEC be a feeder system for the UFC was a great idea. Fighters were able to get the notoriety of being under Zuffa and if they performed well enough they would move onto the UFC. Zuffa benefited by being able to sign new fighters that might not have been ready for the UFC, but have great potential.

However, several changes now mean the relationship isn't working out as good as it once was:

  1. The WEC dropped both their middleweight and light heavyweight weight classes. Zuffa thought this was a good decision as it was increasingly difficult to fill the wieghtclass with fighters up to their standards. However, the drop meant that they no longer able to feed the UFC at those weight classes and WEC events are harder to promote without those classes of fighters. In a trickle down effect, I imagine they also lost a set of fans that preferred those weight classes.
  2. The loss of VERSUS for all Direct TV fans and some Dish Network fans has also had an affect on the ratings. When you cut off millions of viewers from a broadcast, your ratings are going to go down.
  3. Finally, the fighters are only flowing from one organization to the other. That is, the best fighters are leaving the WEC and going to the UFC. This works great for the UFC, but why can't the WEC get fighters cut by the UFC? Other organizations often promote their fights as match ups involving ex-UFC fighters, just think what this type of advertisement could do for the WEC.

Time may tell, but a good test will be WEC 48, which is the organizations first pay-per-view event. The result of this event will go a long way in telling the future of the WEC.


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