by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
World Extreme Cagefighting took a major step on Sunday, June 1. Fueled by WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber’s most high profile title defense to date, against former UFC champion Jens Pulver, and an epic battle that saw Miguel Torres retain his bantamweight belt, the promotion scored not only with the live crowd, but also on television.
Taking place in Faber’s hometown of Sacramento, Calif. at the Arco Arena, WEC 34 drew 12,001 fans accounting for live gate receipts of $738,855, according to the California State Athletic Commission. Both numbers are much higher than any previous WEC event.
To put the WEC 34 statistics into perspective, UFC 73, which also took place at the Arco Arena, recorded an official attendance of 13,183 and live gate receipts of $1,551,920. Anderson Silva headlined UFC 73, defending his UFC middleweight title from Nathan Marquardt and featured Sean Sherk’s lightweight defense against Hermes Franca.
A staple of the Versus cable network, WEC also drew it’s strongest numbers to date on television. WEC 34 drew an average of 1,535,705 viewers, which was a 216 percent increase over the average viewership of the promotion’s six previous live fights on Versus. According to WEC officials, their first six live events averaged 485,288 viewers.