If you have been watching the previews for the WEC’s first pay-per-view show, WEC 48, you will have noticed some familiar faces hyping the fight. UFC commentator Joe Rogan and UFC president Dana White are both featured in the previews discussing the fights; as they do for all UFC pay-per-views. It was also announced that Joe Rogan and his commentating partner, Mike Goldberg, will be calling the fights this Saturday night in Sacramento.
Dana White recently sat down with Sergio Non of USA Today to explain why the UFC has taken over promotion duties for WEC 48 and to reveal some interesting plans involving both promotions’ futures.
White offered a simple explanation as to why the UFC has commandeered WEC 48‘s promotion.
“The way I look at it is, it’s a Zuffa promotion, and this is the team for pay-per-view,” said White. “Obviously when the WEC is on Versus, they have their team and everything else, but this is the pay-per-view team.”
When White was asked if the UFC would handle all of the WEC’s pay-per-view shows he responded, “Absolutely.”
The UFC and WEC’s parent company, Zuffa, LLC., has made a smart move in allowing the UFC’s promotion team to handle the WEC’s pay-per-view shows. The UFC has gotten their pay-per-view show down to a science and will ensure that everything runs smoothly. Beyond that, using Rogan and White in the pre-fight hype videos and employing the broadcasting team of Rogan and Goldberg to call the show will draw in viewers who may not be familiar with the WEC but are certainly familiar with those faces. It will also lend the WEC the same air of importance that the UFC enjoys.
White affirmed what many have speculated when he uncovered tentative plans to have the UFC absorb the WEC’s lightweight class and to augment the WEC with lighter weight classes.
“I actually think it’s kind of cool,” White said of the idea. “I think eventually what we do is, we’re going to continue to add to lighter weights, and you’ll end up seeing these (WEC) guys go into the UFC, the 155 pounders.”
Adding even more depth to the fathoms of the UFC’s lightweight class could easily push it to the forefront of the promotion and could possibly position it to replace the light-heavyweight class as the UFC’s darling division. Fighters like Donald Cerrone, Jamie Varner, and current WEC lightweight champion Besnon Henderson would make great additions to the UFC’s lightweight division.
Another big positive to removing the WEC’s lightweight division is that it opens up the doors to super-fights with the promotion’s featherweight stars. It would be hard to justify Urijah Faber or Jose Aldo appearing in the UFC to fight in the lightweight class without first taking the championship in the WEC’s lightweight division. With that weight class gone those two men (as well as Mike Thomas Brown ) could make solid cases for jumping up to the UFC to make super-fights at 155lbs.
Allowing the WEC its own niche (showcasing only lighter weight fighters) and establishing a tangible tie with the UFC by bringing in their broadcasting and hype team is a very savvy move by Zuffa. Viewers will respond to the uniqueness and the familiarity and will likely start paying more attention to the WEC and its fighters. The WEC will operate as a separate promotion but will enjoy the extra attention it gets as a result of the identifiable link between itself and the UFC. A win-win situation for almost everyone involved; it remains to be seen how the fans will react to having to pay to see a WEC fight that would normally be free on basic cable.