VERSUS, the network that celebrates real competition in all its forms, today announced a major partnership with World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC), which is owned by Zuffa, LLC. to televise the mixed martial arts league on VERSUS starting in the summer of 2007. As part of the initial coverage of WEC, VERSUS will air three li ve fights and six one-hour highlight shows.
The WEC brand is recognized as one of the best mixed martial arts organizations in the United States in its category and is owned by the premier organization in the sport. Founded in 2001, the WEC features many of the most prominent athletes in the sport of mixed martial arts today, including Urijah Faber, Rob McCullough, Alex Karalexis, Richard Crunkilton, and John Alessio. The WEC organization has produced 24 professional mixed martial arts events with an impressive 22 total sell-outs.
“This is a partnership that will propel VERSUS and the WEC to the top of the mixed martial arts world,” said Gavin Harvey, President of VERSUS. “With other full-contact, high-impact sports like the NHL and the PBR on the network, VERSUS is a place like none other for mixed martial arts. This genre fortifies the competitive core of the VERSUS brand—it’s in VERSUS’ blood to bring real, pure and raw sports to our viewers—and we intend to be an aggressive leader in this category.”
“VERSUS is one of the top sports networks and World Extreme Cagefighting is the premier brand in the world of mixed martial arts, making this a perfect fit for both of us in 2007,” said Peter Dropick, Vice President of Operations & Production. “The WEC, much like the highly popular Ultimate Fighting Championship, will have tremendous success in putting on top quality mixed martial arts events. We’re proud to be a part of the VERSUS family, and viewers should get ready to witness some exciting competitive fights every time they tune in.”
“World Extreme Cagefighting will continue to put on the best fights in the world,” said Scott Adams, General Manager of WEC. “The fighters make the fight and we have the best talent in the nation in all of our weight divisions.”
MMA is a universal sport that combines techniques from a variety of combative sports disciplines including boxing, wrestling, judo, jiu-jitsu, kickboxing and others. MMA techniques can be broken down into two categories, striking and grappling. The types of strikes permitted include blows with hands, feet, knees or elbows. Grappling involves submissions, chokeholds, throws and takedowns. Nearly all techniques used in WEC competition are allowed by some form of Olympic sport. Today’s fighters are skilled in many martial arts, an aspect due in part to the evolution of the sport. No single discipline reigns.
“We are thrilled to be aligning with the company that has the number one position in the sport to bring the WEC franchise to our viewers,” said Marc Fein, Senior Vice President of Programming and Production for VERSUS. “They organize great fights and they consistently deliver a huge television viewing audience. The WEC fights on VERSUS will feature the best fighters in the category in an extreme action environment and it’s the quality of the fights and fighters in the WEC that sets them apart from the competition.”
Fights that will be featured on VERSUS will include two WEC Championship bouts featuring a main event matchup between Kit Cope vs. Razor “Rob” McCullough in a battle for the vacant WEC Lightweight title. In the other championship bout WEC Featherweight Champion Urijah “California Kid” Faber will defend his WEC Featherweight title. Details about future matchups as well as the announcing team will be released as details become available.