Tonight, World Extreme Cagefighting presents "WEC 51: Aldo vs. Gamburyan" which is headlined by a WEC featherweight championship bout between Jose Aldo and Manny Gamburyan. Also on the card is a lightweight grudge match between former champion Jamie Varner and Donald Cerrone.
So, on the latest edition of "News, Quote, Opinion" we'll preview the show, which airs at 9 p.m. ET on Versus.
Varner, Cerrone heats up outside the cage
News: Jamie Varner told "The MMA Hour" that Donald Cerrone set MMA back 10 years with his comments that, "I hope my emotions take over and I just kill this dude. I hope this is the first death in MMA." These comments drew Cerrone serious ire from both the WEC and the MMA community. Varner said Cerrone later apologized to him for the comments, but added that he didn't feel the apology was sincere.
Quote: "He set MMA back about 10 years," Varner said. "I mean, people, outsiders, who don't really know the sport, they have this common misconception that we're all just a bunch of neanderthals and barbarians, but there are a lot of us that are educated, well-spoken, well-mannered, well-tempered human beings. And to see a guy like that come across the way he has, it definitely feels like it does our sport an injustice and it sets us back a little bit."
Opinion: Judging by the WEC's ratings and the lack of overall reaction to Cerrone's comments, the only place MMA was set back 10 years was in Varner's own mind. Outside of that, though, Varner absolutely is correct in his assessment of Cerrone's comments. Still, comments like that unneeded and unnecessary in today's day and age. Has there ever been a fight in the history of MMA where both men are so unlikeable? Many fans have grown tired of Varner's perceived theatrics in prior fights and Cerrone has done himself no favors with these comments.
Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed
News: WEC has run one pay-per-view and that was earlier this year with WEC 48. That show featured the featherweight championship fight between Jose Aldo and Urijah Faber. The event smashed all expectations, selling north of 150,000 pay-per-views, making it the most successful non-UFC pay-per-view broadcast ever. With that in mind, WEC general manager Reed Harris told MMAJunkie.com that WEC 51 was considered for a pay-per-view broadcast.
Quote: "This card is so deep that we had a discussion," Harris said.
Opinion: Yikes. Yes, Harris is absolutely correct in his assessment that this card is deep, but I have to express great concern that WEC would consider running a pay-per-view event without Urijah Faber on top, which is the only hopes the company has to promote a successful pay-per-view event. The only WEC on Versus show to draw more than 420,000 viewers on Versus during the last year was WEC 46, a show in which Faber was featured. Running a pay-per-view without Faber would spell certain doom. It will be very interesting to see how WEC 51 does on Versus. If a show as good and deep as this on paper does not do well on Versus, there is little hope for anything that isn't a Faber fight doing any sort of business for WEC.