I don’t mean to come off as arrogant, but I saw it coming. I even posted an article outlining my suspicions of a potential WEC/UFC merger. I thought that the UFC airing on VERSUS, the WEC move on pay per view, the signing of a Chinese lightweight in the WEC (and not UFC) all pointed to a merger. So, now that the merger is confirmed I have some questions.
1. How will the casual fan treat the lighter weight fighters?
Many casual UFC fans have no clue who Jose Aldo is or who Dominick Cruz is. However, I think mroe people do know who they are then we expect. I have several friends who are casual fans who love watching Mike Brown, Urijah Faber, and Jose Aldo. However, outside of those guys who is recognizable. Will fans get behind Takeya Mizugaki? Will fans enjoy watching Mark Hominick? Listen. the WEC guys always put on the best fights. I don’t know why, but WEC is always known for exciting fights. Good fights will win the fans. I am convinced that Jose Aldo will be a star and many other will too.
2. How will the fighters handle the larger UFC cage?
Some people think that the smaller cage of the WEC forces more exciting fights. Perhaps. I doubt we see a difference in the cage due to octagon size.
3. How will figter pay be affected?
WEC fighters make less than UFC fighters. However, that will change. I don’t see how the UFC can avoid giving Aldo and Faber six figured per fight. They will be stars int he UFC on par of many int he UFC. The change may not be immediate, but it will happen. Also, it will bring more and bigger sponsors for the smaller guys. Plus, bigger bonuses availble.
4. Will we see “WEC” classes featured on the Ultimate Fighter?
I say yes. It looks as though season 13 will feature welterweights and middleweights, but that doesn’t mean that we won’t see a lighter weight coach.I think the goal has to be Torres vs. Faber. I also would not be shocked to see TUF 14 feature 145’s, 135’s or 125’s. .
5. What will happen to Reed Harris and Sean Shelby?
I doubt they get canned. They’ve done a good job. Dana White says they will have a role in the UFC
6. How will fight cards work out?
Dana says UFC will be on VERSUS 4 times in 2011 and keep the same deal with SPIKE. WEC tended to put on 8 cards per year so we may see a slightly bigger gap for fighters between fights. Dana insists that once the merge takes place the WEC guys are UFC guys and will fight on SPIKE and pay per view cards as well.
7. How will this affect the industry?
It means elite featherweights and bantamweights will really seek out a spot in the UFC. Omigawa is linked to WEC 53. I look for the incentive of higher pay to really bring in the best featherweights and batamweights.