World Extreme Cagefighting has officially announced the abolishment of their 205lb and 185lb divisions following their Dec 3 event. The promotion made the move official today via their website while also announcing a bantamweight title fight between champion, Miguel Torres, and top contender Manny Tapia.
The long rumored move has the company focusing solely on the lower weight classes including welterweight (170lbs), lightweight (155lbs), featherweight (145lbs) and bantamweight (135lbs).
“With every fight, the WEC has proven itself to be a powerful and growing presence in sports, both with our live events and our programming on Versus,” said Peter Dropick, WEC Vice President, Operations and Production. “Exciting matchups like Torres vs. Tapia on Dec. 3 and the incredible fights we have planned for 2009 under this new structure will no doubt establish WEC as the home of the best lighter weight fighters in the world.”
Industry insiders have speculated for months as to when the move would actually happen and according to officials at the WEC, 2009 will move the focus to the lighter weight classes with the light heavyweight and middleweight classes leaving the promotion.
The WEC made no statement as to what would happen to the fighters currently competing in those weight classes, but it has long been assumed that at least champions like Paulo Filho and Steve Cantwell would make the move along with fighters such as Brian Stann, who has a tremendous fan following.
Current middleweight champion, Paulo Filho, is still slated to defend his WEC title in November against Chael Sonnen, but that may be the last scheduled fight for the weight class.
MMAWeekly.com will continue to track this story along with fighters who could potentially make the move to the UFC in the future.