There’s plenty to love about the WEC. Zuffa’s brand of minor league MMA features competitive bouts between lesser-known fighters, including the lighter weight classes that get so little love in other organizations. But does that mean MMA fans are willing to pay extra for it?
Dana White seems to think so, as he told Yahoo! Sports that he plans to put on a WEC pay-per-view event, possibly in 2009. Yahoo! says it could go down “as early as May,” and also says that Zuffa will follow through on plans to absorb the WEC’s light heavyweight and middleweight divisions into the UFC. That means even fewer fighters will be available for the WEC cards that fans will soon be asked to pay for.
Asked how many events the WEC would stage in 2009, White replied, “We’re still figuring that out, but I can tell you this: It’s not going to go down.”
Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t one of the WEC’s main selling points the fact that it was always free on Versus? Why go and screw with that? There’s been a clear dichotomy even in the UFC between fight cards that are good for free TV (i.e. Spike TV) and those that are of pay-per-view quality. As great a year as the WEC has had, asking fans to pay premium prices means expectations go up too. With so many UFC events already stretching the pay-per-view budget of many fans, it could also mean a decline in overall WEC viewership.
I think I speak for all non-independently wealthy MMA fans when I say, damn.