Why the WEC Needs to Fold into the UFC Already

Posted: June 21, 2010 in Marketing, UFC

This Sunday was not only Father’s Day but it was also WEC 49: Varner vs. Shalorus.  Oh, you didn’t know either?  That’s right.  This event completely went under the MMA radar.  Now, if I’m wrong I’ll fully admit it but I don’t remember seeing any form of advertisement for this event outside of a 10 second mention during UFC 115: Liddell vs. Franklin.

This is the problem with the WEC.  It can become a forgettable entity.  Despite having a live card, instead of remembering the WEC I remembered that George St. Pierre was nominated for the “The Most Dangerous Man” Award against Manny Pacquiao on the SPIKE’s Guy Choice Awards.  Yeah, I remembered to watch GSP defeat Manny in a fan’s choice award instead of watching a live MMA event.  Am I pleased with that?  No.

Since Zuffa, LLC purchased WEC in 2006 it has certainly grown the organizations talent.  We’ve seen Urijah Faber, Miguel Torres, Donald Cerrone, Ben Henderson and Jose Aldo become household names on top MMA pound-for-pound lists.  However, as the talent grows the brand recognition has actually dipped.  The first PPV card for WEC wasn’t even branded a WEC event.  It was simply titled Aldo vs. Faber.  At that stage it may as well be Godzilla vs. Rodan.  For those that watched the event, the WEC logo was missing from the ring, the banners and even the fighter’s gloves.

To further add to the second-tier nature of WEC, when Frank Mir received his punishment for speaking foolishly in an interview he was replaced as the WEC commentator by Kenny “Kenflo” Florian.  “Kenflo,” a top lightweight, doesn’t quite carry the same cache or mic skills as Mir does.  Now although I think multiple MMA organizations can only help the sport in the long run, let’s look at why the UFC should just do what we know is coming and fold the WEC into the UFC and add some lighter classes into the mix:

  • Brand Consolidation – by simply calling it the UFC you further build an established brand name and limit the confusion of any casual fans that are looking to take a deeper dive into MMA.  This also helps Zuffa cut costs as it only needs to create one set of logos, championship belts, etc.
  • More Title Fights/Better Events for Fans – Although there is no shortage of talent, there is sometimes a shortage of decent PPV cards for the UFC.  If we add in some of these lighter classes you add the number of title fights fans can see.
  • Better Exposure for Fighters – The WEC offers some great MMA talent, but due to a lack of exposure in the WEC brand name more casual may not get to see these fighters in action.  May seem silly, but if this week’s Varner vs. Shalorus it would have certainly caught a few more eyes.
  • More sponsor opportunities for the UFC – The UFC name carries a lot more weight than WEC and that means more sponsorship dollars.  By keeping the WEC brand in existence the UFC may actually limit the amount of money some large brands may invest in their events.

What do you think should happen with the WEC?

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Comments
  1. […] Takedown: WEC & AMP Posted on July 7, 2010 by mixedmarketingarts Based on my thoughts on the WEC I wasn’t going to write about this campaign, but what can I say, I’m a sucker for […]

  2. […] like ESPN.  This will be a huge branding boost for the sport.  I mean, we’re close – GSP did win a SPIKE’s Guy’s Choice award.  It’s a start…. This entry was posted in Marketing, PR. […]

  3. […] that the UFC does – despite both being owned by Zuffa.  This is another prime example of why the WEC should just be folded into the UFC and have that promotion gain a few lighter classes added to their mix of […]

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