Dana White has confirmed the UFC’s big announcement: The UFC and the WEC will merge in 2011.  The UFC president revealed the news to MMAfighting’s Ariel Helwani minutes before the official press announcement set for 1pm ET this afternoon.

The WEC’s last event in his current form will be WEC 53 in December. From 2011 onwards all the WEC’s weight classes, from bantamweight to lightweight will roll into the UFC’s current roster.

White says that the full WEC roster will come aboard, and the WEC’s backroom staff will also become a part of the UFC as well.

“This merger is great for everybody.  It’s great for the sport, it’s great for the lighter weight guys, and it’s great for the guys who don’t have a place to fight right now,” White said.

The WEC is currently shown on the Versus network, and White further revealed that though they are losing the WEC, Versus will now show four events live in 2011.

Amongst the exciting additions to the UFC as a result of the merger is Brazilian star and current featherweight champion Jose Aldo.   The talented fighter now looks set to defend what will now become the UFC Featherweight Title in January against an as yet unnamed opponent.

Watch Dana reveal the news to Helwani in an exclusive interview below.

*more to follow

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Ross launched MMA Insight (previously FightOfTheNight.com) in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. He's since penned countless news stories and live fight reports along with dozens of feature articles as the lead writer for the site, reaching millions of fans in the process.