After suffering significantly low ratings for its most recent effort at “WEC 47: Bowles vs. Cruz,” many outlets are pushing for Zuffa, LLC to merge the WEC with its sister company, the UFC.
WEC 47 captured only 373,000 viewers, the promotion’s second lowest on Versus in nearly two years. December’s WEC 45 event, which was headlined by the lightweight scrap between Donald Cerrone and Ed Ratcliff, is the WEC’s least popular show during that run.
However most MMA pundits would argue that it’s too early for the WEC to throw in the towel and merge with the MMA powerhouse. The transition will likely happen at some point down the road, but as it stands now, the WEC is still a very entertaining brand.
Sure the ratings have dropped-off in recent events, but don’t forget Versus, the network that airs WEC events, was dropped by DirecTV late last year. The popular satellite company has over 18-million subscribers (including us at 5thRound.com) that were deprived of the last five WEC shows.
It would also make sense to wait and see how “UFC on Versus” does on March 21st. If those ratings don’t live up to expectations, then it would be safe to assume that DirecTV holds a bigger piece of the puzzle than originally expected.
Don’t forget that the NHL is also struggling with viewers as Versus and NBC are the only stations, outside of local affiliates and the NHL Network, that broadcast hockey.
Another important aspect to the promotion’s future is their pay-per-view debut on April 24th when company superstar Urijah Faber challenges newly crowned featherweight title holder Jose Aldo in Faber’s hometown of Sacramento, California inside the ARCO Arena.
The three bouts that have been announced for the card have created a buzz of excitement and could spark new life into the WEC. At the same time, “WEC 48: Aldo vs. Faber” could be viewed as a make-or-break situation which would put a lot of pressure on certain people to produce numbers in a rough economy.
If Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, co-owners of Zuffa and rulers of the MMA universe, had quit when they first tested the MMA waters, there would be no UFC. However, businessmen might argue that today’s economic climate has completely changed how companies think and operate.