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WEC To Mexico Potentially A Litmus Test For The UFC?

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WEC General Manager Reed Harris elaborates on WEC expansion:

Mizugaki coming over from Japan and doing that five-round war with Torres just opened up that entire (Japanese) market for us. We’re now doing video-on-demand (internationally) for this next show and the reason was for the demand (from Japanese fans)

We spoke on the plans to offer WEC 42 via on demand here.

Harris talks about going to Mexico:

After this show on Aug. 9, Miguel and I and a couple of the other people from the WEC are going down to Mexico City," said Harris. "We are doing a promotional tour with Miguel, but we’re also talking to other guys down in Mexico City and we’d love to do a show down there. We have great ratings in Mexico for the WEC.

The WEC has several fighters that would be marketable in Mexico, including Torres, Leonard Garcia, Ricardo Lamas, and Raphael Assuncao as they are all able to speak Spanish.  Tito Ortiz spoke on the idea of headlining a UFC show in Mexico City during the UFC press conference this past Friday, and Dana White said that the UFC Unleashed show gets like 18 million viewers there.  The UFC also has other fighters like Cain Velasquez, Diego Sanchez,  and Roger Huerta(if he stays after his next fight) to aid in making the splash in Mexico.  Could Zuffa be using the WEC as a litmus test in regards to just how well a live MMA show would be received south of the border?  A MMA4Real reader and I spoke on this the other day, in that Mexico and Japan are really similar in regards to navigating the political landscape to get things done.  Dana White said they are going to Japan in the press conference as well.  If they really want to go global, conquering the Asian and Hispanic markets are definitely something Zuffa needs to tackle.  However, that's not all in regards to the WEC as Harris indicates they'll be going to Canada next year as well:   

"We’re definitely looking at that and we’re also looking at going to Canada next year."

Canada is a hotbed for MMA, and UFC President Dana White said that Canada is the mecca of MMA right now.  So it'll be interesting to see how the Canadians respond to the WEC name brand.  Harris also spoke on how many shows to expect from the WEC in 2010:

We’re going to do at least 10 shows, maybe 12, maybe one a month or so

Wow, that will mean that Zuffa is putting on at least 2 and maybe three shows almost every month.  Actually, they are putting on 3 shows in this month alone as we'll get to see UFC 101, WEC 42, and UFC 102.  We'll also be treated to three shows in the month of September as well.  Harris also mentions where he thinks the WEC will be in 2-3 years:

I think in the next two or three years, we could be as big as UFC is now

Notice, he didn't say that he thinks they'll be as big as the UFC is...just that he think they could be as big as the UFC is now.  I don't know if that will come to fruition, but I do hope that those lightweight fighters in the WEC start to get the money and recognition they deserve.