My buddy Zak Woods gives his thoughts on the WEC and how Zuffa could improve the promotion:
The biggest problem facing the WEC is not derived from its divisions, talent or television deal, the largest issue is that it appears management doesn't know what to do with the WEC, hence all the counter promotional events.
Using the WEC as an occasional counter promotional vehicle is fine, but the promotion needs to find a simple formula and stick with it. The formula would consist of well paced events, young and hungry fighters, lighter weight classes, with high action and intensity. In early 2008 it appeared they had that formula but a series of disappointing events changed that perception. The WEC needs to get back to its roots and put on exciting and competitive fights, that don't turn a two hour event into n hour and a half of comercials like WEC 38.
Bring back Scott Adams as a matchmaker, his removal was not due to poor fights but rather an inability to build up title contenders. Sean Shelby, the current WEC matchmaker, is not a qualified candidate, his best accomplishment in the UFC was the creating of a highlight reel set to 'Teenage Wasteland', a hallmark of live UFC events but by no means a resume builder for matchmaker. That is why the WEC should return Adams as matchmaker but then bring in someone from the UFC to help with the PR development of contenders. Shelby could fill that role. Also if the WEC increases their internet media presence they could build a stronger fanbase.
The WEC is being used as a counter promotional event? I can't agree with that one. If Zuffa was using the WEC as counter promotional organization, they wouldn't put UFC 91 on Spike TV, or put together Ultimate Fight Night events together in a few weeks. Zuffa would host WEC events the SAME night as whatever program they were trying to counter program. The fact of the matter is the WEC brand name isn't big enough to be used as a counter program to anything at the moment.
In regards to the correct formula. The WEC has it down to a science. The only gripe I've had with them in the past year is the pacing on a couple of their events. Other than that you can't really complain. I mean I could go on and on about how the last 3 events have produced very competitive fights:
WEC 36-The only knock on this card was the Filho/Sonnen debacle, and MMA4Real's Fight Of The Year in Donald Cerrone/Rob McCullough NOT making the broadcast. The Filho/Sonnen situation was out of the control of the WEC, and Scott Adams was at fault for not putting the Cerrone/McCullough fight on the broadcast! Cerrone fought for the title in his next fight! We got to see a devasting KO in Pulver/Garcia, and HUGE upset in Brown beating Pulver.
WEC 37-I admit this event was a little weak, but you still got to see a great KO by Torres. Good competitive fights between Bowles/Riberio. Also got to see a decent fight between two up and comers in Benevidez/Martinez.
WEC 38-The fights got started late, but you still got to see some great fights. Varner/Cerrone was a war, and Aldo had a great KO with the knee in what was a competitive bout up to that point. Villefort/Campbell was a competitive bout. The only gripe on this card was Pulver/Faber II.
The WEC is doing just fine in my opinion. Think about it, they put on 6 shows last year without the benefit of PPV and they were still profitable. They aren't making out like gangbusters, but they aren't losing any money either. I think the WEC pairing down their weight divisions is a sign of good things to come. It made absolutely no sense to keep those divisons they cut, when everyone knew the talent for the most part was inferior to the UFC.