A few UFCs ago, Dana White mentioned during a fan Q&A that they were thinking of folding the WEC into the UFC. Immediately afterwards, denials were made and execs once again tsk tsk’d at the MMA media for ‘making stories up.’ But now:
In a rather telling exchange at the pre-fight press conference for this weekend’s UFC 102 in Portland, Ore., White was asked about adding more weight classes to the UFC, to which he replied, “If we do any more weight classes, it’s gonna be lower, adding lighter weight classes.”
Asked what the chances of such additions actually were, he replied, “very good,” and indicated that a plausible timeframe for the additions was “probably real soon.”
When pressed as to whether that meant that WEC would basically fold into the UFC, White replied as a Cheshire grin spread across his face, “It doesn’t really mean that, but…”
It really means that.
The official company line, according to White: “What that means is I’ve gotta figure some (expletive) out.”
The only thing keeping the WEC from magically becoming the UFC overnight is the exclusive status of the UFC’s cable deal with SpikeTV. But that’s a pretty big sticking point, so how the UFC handles this should be interesting indeed. I have to figure that Dana White sees the 200,000 buy difference between PPVs with titles and PPVs without titles and figures bantamweight and featherweight belts are the answer.
I’m totally down … all those WEC divisions need to explode is some good old fashioned UFC brand magic. But I do worry about the logistics of it all. The UFC is already full to bursting with fighters, and that’s with guys getting fights less often and getting cut at the drop of a hat. If the UFC can’t figure out how to re-brand the WEC on Versus or add several more shows per year, I have no idea how they’d handle that many more guys.