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« | Home | »

Report: WEC down to four weight classes

By Zach Arnold | August 29, 2008

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From the office of Kevin Iole:

Zuffa’s decision to trim the WEC from six divisions (light heavyweight, middleweight, welterweight, lightweight, featherweight and bantamweight) to four by folding its light heavyweight and middleweight divisions into the UFC, however, will make it that much harder to fill cards.

That’s particularly true given White’s plan to add pay-per-view shows to the WEC’s offerings, perhaps as early as May.

I love WEC. However, WEC PPVs at this time = no buys.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, WEC, Zach Arnold | 23 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

23 Responses to “Report: WEC down to four weight classes”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    I will be buying the PPV’s, but I buy most MMA PPV’s. Perhaps a PPV with Urijah Faber on it could get 30,000 buys. Not sure if much more then that.

    I love the fact that they reduced it to 4 weight classes. This will just give the lighter guys more opportunties and really give Zuffa a chance to flesh out each weight division.

    WEC is really becoming what Bushido should have been all along.

  2. Kelvin says:

    I just wrote a piece that hit on this subject…Iole makes some key points.

  3. Jeremy says:

    One thing I totally disagree with is his suggestion that it will be harder to fill cards.

    We will see fighters competing more often, not mention the fact that the WEC has been signing a lot more fighters.

  4. D.Capitated says:

    With low fighter pay, its conceivable that maybe they’ll try to make money the route Warrior’s Boxing did a few years back: low priced PPVs with B-level names. I have a hard time believing it will work though.

  5. D.Capitated says:

    We will see fighters competing more often, not mention the fact that the WEC has been signing a lot more fighters.

    Why would fighters necessarily be able to fight more often? If you’re depending on a roster of 70-80 guys to fight each other every 7 weeks, that’s pretty bold.

  6. Dave says:

    They have like one draw for the whole company, this is ridiculous.

  7. b.w. says:

    it would be very hard to get someone to pay for what they have been getting for free for a long time. the wec would have to put on a supercard with faber vs torres or sign yammamoto. they would probably have to bring in a ufc guy to fight condit. hell they would probably have to bring in a few ufc fighters to help sell it. all titles would have to be on the line. for me it would depend on the matchups they presented and as mentioned a lowered ppv price ($29.99?), and it could still only be a once or twice a year event.

  8. 45 Huddle says:

    “it would be very hard to get someone to pay for what they have been getting for free for a long time.”

    Which is exactly the problem EliteXC will have in the future. They can’t make money without PPV, and they can’t get good PPV buy rates because they have already given away everything for free (incuding their big money fight of Kimbo/Shamrock).

    I like the idea of 2 PPV’s a year. If done properly, they could perhaps get 50,000 PPV Buys. I know having a live feed for a PPV is expensive, but they might at least be able to break even if the salaries of the fighters is low.

    Either way, if it isn’t the UFC, it likely won’t sell on PPV.

  9. Rollo the Cat says:

    Maybe holding off on the PPV for a bit and doing a co-pormotion first is the way to go. For instance, maybe have Torres or Faber fight on a UFC PPV to build name recognition for the fighters and the brand. Then try to go with a WEC PPV.

  10. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    What if Penn is actually serious about moving up (I mean actually serious and not seriously delusional, which is what I normally consider him).

    If he goes, there’s no reason to keep that division in UFC.

    Right now WEC has two or three belt fights at every event. This opens up televised slots for the guys that they’re trying to develop, as opposed to the guys at the “top” of the card who were really just slumming it in WEC because they couldn’t cut it in UFC in those two top weight classes.

    If they cut to one belt per show, and have three title fights a year in each division, I think that’s a perfectly respectable way to go, and it fits with what they’re already doing for a rotation with Faber. Since he started in WEC, he’s basically fought three times a year.

  11. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    What kind of numbers was KOTC doing? A lot of these guys have been in KOTC in the past, and KOTC seems to very likely be going away. Obviously KOTC was staying above water and then some, and I think the gates at the WEC events are better, at least when they’re away from Vegas, than they have ever been at the tribal casino shows that KOTC was notorious for.

  12. Whatever says:

    WEC will be fine. There’s lots of talent in the 135,145,155 and 170 lb weight classes. No shortage of fighters in each category. Add that they have Bud light and Harley Davidson only helps. The Move into Mexico is smart and hopefully they can add a womans division or 2.

    I like WEC chance at PPV alot better than ELITE XC chances.

  13. Dave says:

    I don’t know about that. Kimbo Slice on PPV is a bigger deal than Faber, Condit or Torres on PPV, no matter how much I love them.

  14. Mr. Mike says:

    They could change the 170lb class, to a
    to a 175lb class and, add a new 165 lb. class.

    Since they gave up the 185 lb & 205 lb, perhaps they could also add a 190 lb class?

  15. zack says:

    “The Move into Mexico is smart ”

    Yep…HUGE money there!!

  16. Teufel says:

    I like the WEC. The fights are entertaining, but if they want to expand their viewerbase to the point that they can put on PPVs and turn a profit they need to get a bigger network deal, sticking with Versus just isn’t going to cut it.

  17. IceMuncher says:

    I don’t think the PPV deal will happen. It’s a goal they’re shooting for, but I think they’ll look at their situation and decide to keep growing on free TV. I don’t think they’ll jump to PPV until they’re ready.

  18. Jeremy says:

    WEC is looking to strengthen their 155 and 170 classes, as well as continue to build up 135 and 145.

    If they are running 8-9 shows a year, that would be 160-180 slots a year.

    If they have 15 fighters per class, for a total of 60, that would be 3 fights per fighter per year.

    Again, I don’t see any problems with that.

    McCollough and Varner both only fought twice in 07, if all fighters are targeted for 3 fights a year, it will be fine.

    The UFC’s last roster cutting was done with the intent of having most fighters competing 3-4 times a year.

    Same thing would apply here.

  19. IceMuncher says:

    I’d like to dispute the argument that removing the MW and LHW divisions has made it harder to fill out cards. In the last two shows, WEC 35 and 34, there were 3 LHW fights, and no MW fights. That’s a total of 3 MW and LHW fights since the end of March. You’ll never notice the divisions were gone.

  20. […] WEC?s offerings, perhaps as early as May. I love WEC. However, WEC PPVs at this time = no buys. Report: WEC down to four weight classes | FightOpinion.com – Your Global Connection to the Fight Ind… […]

  21. Luke says:

    I think this move is designed to take potential PPV dates away from Elite XC, just as putting WEC on Versus took away a TV outlet for their competitors.

  22. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    The Versus deal and the Zuffa purchase were nearly simultaneous. I guess there was speculation that the Versus deal was supposed to be for IFL, but I’ve never heard actual confirmation of that, unless someone has a link.

    I’d imagine that the negotiations were pretty much parallel, and were more or less contingent (the purchase on the TV deal and vice versa).

  23. karat3 says:

    Did Kevin Iole just say Carlos Condit is one of the 20 best fighters in mma?

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