by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
It’s not especially convenient logistically for Zuffa, LLC, the parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and World Extreme Cagefighting, to have the two promotions running events on back-to-back nights, but it makes for an enticing weekend of mixed martial arts for fans.
“A lot of it had to do with the available date with the Hard Rock and with Versus. We wanted to get into that new venue,” said WEC Vice President Peter Dropick of the reasoning behind WEC 42 taking place on Aug. 9 when UFC 101 is scheduled for the night before in Philadelphia.
With the UFC being the juggernaught in the sport and WEC spearheading the lighter weight classes, weekends where the two promotions butt heads is likely to become a more frequent issue.
“In the future, we’re expanding to have at least 10 fights next year. UFC is in the mid-20s now,” relayed Dropick. “It’s inevitable we’ll be coming up against each other back-to-back at times, but it’s a good growing pain.”
In fact, it could be a growing pain that resurfaces later this year, as the WEC is still working out dates beyond the Aug. 9 event in Las Vegas, and its successor, WEC 43, on Sept. 2 in Youngstown, Ohio.
“We’ll soon be announcing our November and December dates. We should have those finalized shortly,” Dropick commented.
The target for November – an event that WEC General Manager Reed Harris confirmed to MMAWeekly.com will feature Mike Brown defending his WEC featherweight championship from Jose Aldo – is looking like the 11th or the 17th, which wouldn’t appear to conflict with a UFC date. There was talk of the November event taking place in Denver, but that is appearing less and less likely due to scheduling conflicts at the targeted venue.
December, however, is going to be a crowded month for the WEC to slip in with the UFC. The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights season finale is scheduled for Dec. 5, and a pay-per-view event featuring a clash between coaches Quinton Jackson and Rashad Evans is likely for Dec. 12 or 19 in Memphis. It is also possible that the UFC will hold another marquee event on Jan. 2.