Did you hear that ruckus on Thursday? Don’t be scared, homie. It was only the collective fracas of WEC superstars doing Yes Cartwheels after UFC president Dana White announced they would absorb their little brothers to formulate one powerhouse organization.
In addition to the added exposure and automatic promotion, White also acknowledged former blue-caged fighters should be getting pay raises now that they have “made it” to the big leagues.
The money train doesn’t stop there, as athletes appearing in UFC shows – particularly on the televised portion of a fight card – command heftier sponsorship dollars than when competing for other companies.
Here’s what your favorite WEC superstars had to say about the monumental maneuver (Courtesy of Sherdog.com):
WEC/UFC(b) lightweight top contender Anthony Pettis:
“It’s crazy. It’s not even real yet, and it’s not going to be real until it finally happens. I’ve heard the rumors for a year-and-a-half. The possibility of headlining a pay-per-view is huge.”
WEC/UFC(b) lightweight champion Ben Henderson:
“I’m not so affected by the pay-per-view stuff. No matter the venue, I still have to go out there and perform and get my hand raised. I could be fighting in the back of a 7-11, and I still have to go out and do my best.
“It would mean a lot [to become the UFC champion]. It’d be a dream come true. I want to be the best on the planet, so I’ll probably eventually fight both [Edgar and Maynard]. I want to beat everybody – not my buddies, but everybody else.”
Former WEC bantamweight champ Miguel Torres:
“It’s definitely bittersweet, because I’ve been with the WEC a while, and I’ve been fighting since ’98. I think I’m a pioneer, but now the future is open to me. I think it’s really good. It’s going to give us lighter guys more attention. We’ve sort of been viewed as second-tier fighters and now we’ve got the opportunity to show the world that we belong in the UFC.”
Former WEC poster boy and featherweight king Urijah Faber:
“I’m excited, man. I’ve been pushing for [the merger] for a while now. We WEC guys haven’t been getting the credit or the exposure that we deserve. It’s also going to mean better paydays, which is obviously great.
“Not having to explain the difference, or lack of a difference, to the fans is going to be nice. I’m looking forward to the satisfaction of there finally being no difference between the UFC and the WEC. I didn’t think there was a difference before, except the initials, but now it’s official.”