Monday, November 1, 2010

What to do with the WEC?

The Zuffa controlled WEC promotion will officially merge with the UFC in the beginning of 2011, most likely at UFC 125. What will happen with the WEC promotion is still up in the air.

The WEC promotion was started in 2001 by Reed Harris and Scott Adams. In its infancy, the promotion had all weightclasses with many notable champions. Frank Shamrock held the light heavyweight belt in 2003 before leaving for Strikeforce, later Scott Smith would vacate the same belt to compete in TUF 4.

The welterweight division has seen Nick Diaz, Shonie Carter, Karo Parisyan, Mike Pyle and Carlos Condit hold the belt. The middleweight belt was held by Chris Leben, Joe Riggs and Paulo Filho. In 2006 Zuffa purschased the WEC, and in 2008 all weights above 155 were merged into the UFC.

I have always been of the contention that the WEC should be an official feeder league or minor league for the UFC with all weight classes. That way, young prospects can get a few fights infront of a TV audience and a larger live crowd. Many prospects go from fighting infront of 1,000 people straight to the UFC and 15,000 plus. It isn't surprising that they get the jitters.

In addition, instead of cutting popular fighters to be picked up by other promotions, they could send them to the WEC to pick up a few wins. That would have been ideal for fighters like Gabriel Gonzaga, Keith Jardine or Pat Cote. Also, TUF competitors not quite ready for the UFC could prove themselves in the WEC.

The most plausible scenario is that the WEC will be shut down for good. The promotion will only exist in WEC wreckage replays on Versus and DVD sales. It is a shame, as the promotion always seemed to make money with reasonable fighter payouts, a solid television deal and good crowds.

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