By Zach Arnold | December 16, 2010
I watched tonight’s show with casual to semi-hardcore fans, interested in seeing what the reaction would be to the final WEC event. By the end of the night, the conclusion from everyone was that the show had a weird vibe to it and felt nothing like a farewell event.
I was watching the show with a big Ben Henderson fan and we noticed right away that the Glendale crowd was there to see him and see him only. The other fighters got tepid responses except for when Dominick Cruz was looking at Urijah Faber. Only Henderson and Faber got any sort of crowd reaction. These were not exactly hardcore fight fans. The Vegas crowd last month was better. My friend kept asking me, “Why didn’t they run the final show in Sacramento with Faber?” All I could say was, “I know.”
If tonight wasn’t crystal clear enough for you, Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber will likely be the coaches. I’d prefer Miguel Torres and Faber, but either combination is OK with me.
Cruz fought as good of a fight as I could have expected against Scott Jorgensen. You can teach many things but you can’t teach size and at Bantamweight, Cruz’s size is king. So is his talent and game-planning skills.
I thought the main event played out the way I expected. I want to salute the one judge who had the temerity to give a 49-46 score in favor of Anthony Pettis. I had it 49-46 with Pettis winning rounds 2-5 and Henderson winning round one. You could even make an argument for R3 being a 10-8 round given just how dominant Anthony was with the choke. When I heard going into R5 both Todd Harris and Stephan Bonnar proclaim that the fight was even after four rounds, my jaw dropped. When the scores were read at the end, I couldn’t believe that two of the judges had it even going into R5. Two 48-47 scores. Incredible.
Pettis closed out the WEC with one of the most amazing springboard kicks you will ever see off the cage. What a fantastic kick combined with no defense by Henderson. You shouldn’t be able to hit an opponent that flush with that kind of kick, but he did. Pettis is very, very cocky and I think he will make a great foil for someone in the UFC in terms of drawing fan reaction.
The main event lived up to the hype but the rest of the TV card did not. On paper, this card looked better than any of the major NYE events coming up. Unfortunately, tonight’s show largely was a drag (on the TV side) and it was a shame that some of the better fights from the undercard weren’t shown. There were no tributes to WEC, no look back at WEC history, and no sense of any sort of emotion. It was as if Zuffa wanted to get the show done and over with and get the hell out of the arena. In that sense, the show was greatly lacking and lousy for the fans. After all, if you’re watching the WEC, chances are you are likely a semi-hardcore or hardcore fan and would appreciate at least some sort of tip of the cap to what WEC meant in terms of producing great fights. Instead, the message being sent to the fans felt forced. It was a force-feeding of “we’re transitioning to the UFC” the whole time. It didn’t even seem like an ounce of energy was spent on giving the WEC a proper farewell on TV.
- Remembering WEC – a noble experiment, business failure
- Sad swan song for the little promotion that could
Addendum: I wish tonight’s show would have featured all the ‘name’ fighters in the promotion’s history that put on the quality bouts that made the company what it was. It would have been great to see Mike Brown, Miguel Torres, Joseph Benavidez, so on and so forth take a curtain call. Yes, I know they are going to fight in the UFC, but it would have been nice to have seen their accomplishments highlighted.