This year has been a great year for the guys at Zuffa. The UFC has expanded into Canada with UFC 83 being a incredible success. The WEC has proven that their cards are nothing short of spectacular, action packed, and well produced. In the past few months Dana White has mentioned that they could possibly merge the LHW and MW divisions of the WEC into the UFC. Kevin Iole provides sound reasoning here as to why that merger of divisions could pose problems. My thinking is, why not merge the entire WEC into the UFC? The following are just a few points of interest that I'll expound upon:
- The WEC LHW/MW divisions doesn't really offer the UFC much in terms of UFC caliber fighters
- As Iole pointed out, how could the WEC operate with such a small number of fighters even though they plan to run more shows in 2009?
- The addition of the WEC Lightweight, Featherweight, and Bantamweight divisions to the UFC would give them the fighters necessary to fuel their planned expansion
- A full merger would save them monies due to not having to promote two separate organizations
- Fighters like Miguel Torres, Urijah Faber, and Carlos Condit would get the recognition/exposure they deserve due to the brand recognition of the UFC
- I doubt that the WEC PPV events would be very successful
I really don't see the point of keeping the WEC just for the sake of hosting the WW, LW, FW, and BW divisions. Why would you want an organization that's only known for their stable of light weight fighters? Especially considering that lightweight fighters traditionally have never done well PPV wise in boxing or MMA. Yet, you are saying that you would like for that organization to host PPV events? Those same fighters could help carry some of the Ultimate Fight Night shows on Spike, or the grass root shows that have been talked about in the Philippines and other locations.
As I mentioned earlier, the LHW/MW divisions offer very little to the UFC in terms of UFC caliber fighters. Outside of Paulo Filho(who's overrated IMO) and Chael Sonnen, they don't really gain anything from this merger of divisions. However, what they could do with a full merger is cut all the fighters that are not UFC caliber, and pay their current champions what they should be making. It's pretty pathetic when Urijah Faber and Miguel Torres combined made $72,000 for their performances at WEC 34. These two fighters are considered to be two of the best pound for pound fighters in the world.
Brand recognition is a double edged sword for Zuffa. Their UFC PPV events benefit greatly because of it. A sub par UFC PPV card will still do well over 300,000 buys here in America. However, that same brand recognition is what would cause a WEC PPV event to suffer...even though the event would more than likely be spectacular.
All in all, I see a complete merger of these two organizations being more beneficial opposed to merging just two divisions. Not only would the fans and the fighters win if this were to happen, but so would Zuffa.