Wednesday, December 15, 2010

FIGHT BLOG: WEC's absorption and its legacy

Hey all, sorry I've been away, but you know how college is.

If you've been away from the entire MMA world since October, you may not know this, but UFC has decided to absorb its sister promotion, World Extreme Cagefighting, and its champions beginning on Jan. 1, 2011.

WEC is now down to its final event: WEC 53 in Phoenix tomorrow. The UFC has already announced that WEC featherweight champion Jose Aldo is recognized as the first UFC champion. Meanwhile the Bantamweight title fight tomorrow between champion Dominic Cruz and Scott Jorgensen will determine the first UFC Bantamweight champion.
File:Wec logo.jpg
First of all, I love this idea. Anyone who watches the company regularly knows that the best 145- and 135-pounders in the world fight for the company. They should be paid major-league money, and being moved into the UFC ends the myth that lighter fighters are "busch league."

Guys like Urijah Faber and Miguel Torres, who looked at non-Zuffa companies for contracts because of pay issues, will now be set for life by competing in the UFC.

Another great advantage is it deepens the cards that UFC puts on. By setting up even two lower-weight matchups per card, you have a much more exciting card to watch.

With all these advantages, however, comes a bit of sadness. WEC has been the most consistently strong company since Zuffa purchased them.

They have earned the statement "It's a WEC card, so it's gonna be good," and with the last event appearing stacked, it seems that that will have been true from start to finish.

Having a limit of 155-pound fighters on a card was amazing because it allowed for quick, nonstop action and Fight of the Year candidates regularly.

I've watched MMA off-and-on for a long time, but the day I truly became a fan was not a UFC card, it was a WEC card with Urijah Faber defending the featherweight title.

This company has earned a level of respect not seen since PRIDE FC was absorbed by the UFC, and I hope that like PRIDE, WEC is given a highlight reel and appreciation from the UFC faithful.

I won't be making picks on this blog, as I'll save that for tomorrow, but I will give my top five WEC fights going into tomorrow's card:

5. Cerrone-Varner II: I wish this fight had been for the title, but it had the emotion of a pro wrestling feud and was exciting all the way through.

4. Garcia-Jung: The fight between Leonard Garcia and the Korean Zombie probably got WEC a lot of its buys when it went to pay-per-view, and was the featherweight equivalent of Griffin-Bonnar in my opinion.

3. Torres-Mizugaki: Takeyu Mizugaki took this fight on short notice and made it an exciting, standup affair. I was impressed with both guys and grew to love the bantamweight division because of it.

2. Faber-Pulver I: It wasn't the most exciting necessarily, but it was the most significant fight in WEC history. It was the most watched fight and seeing the young Faber defeat a UFC legend did wonders for the company's legitimacy.

1. Henderson-Cerrone I: By far the best fight in WEC history, these two put on a technical clinic on the ground and standing up. Bendo earned the interim lightweight title in the final round on my scorecard, and it has gotten him one fight away from a UFC title shot upon his arrival.

I hope those who watch this card tomorrow remember the significance of this company and truly realize what will be disappearing after the final bell. I'll be making picks tomorrow, but here's my favorite WEC highlight to hold you over.

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