Yesterday the WEC announced it was to make it’s first venture into the Pay Per View market with WEC 48 on April 24th.
Three bouts for the card have also been officially announced for the event which will sell for $44.95:
- Jose Aldo Vs Urijah Faber – Featherweight Title Fight
- Ben Henderson Vs Donald Cerrone – Lightweight Title Fight
- Mike Brown Vs Manny Gamburyan
General reaction to the announcement has been muted with many people casting doubt over the WEC’s ability to generate significant PPV numbers in a market that is dominated by it’s bigger brother, the UFC, though the event will be branded as “UFC Presents WEC 48.”
Personally I share that skepticism, but it is a strong card by WEC standards. Aldo – Faber has the potential to be one of the fights of the year, and the previous battle between Henderson and Cerrone was arguably the best of 2009.
Concerns for the success of the event grow when you add in the fact that, according to SI’s Josh Gross, their rivals Strikeforce are now considering placing their next Strikeforce on CBS event on the same night as the WEC card – April 24th.
Though the bouts have not been officially announced yet for this event it is widely expected that the Strikeforce card will feature it’s major stars such as Fedor Emelianenko, Dan Henderson and Gegard Mousasi.
This is a major concern for the WEC, particularly as the success of their PPV event is likely going to rely on the support of hardcore MMA fans – many of whom have been eagerly awaiting Fedor’s next fight.
With the WEC only likely to pull in between 50,000-150,000 paying customers at most – a drop in the ocean compared to the 4 million + viewers enjoyed by Strikeforce on the free to air CBS network, there is very little risk for them in going head-to-head with the WEC.
Therefore the ball is now in the WEC’s court, and personally I feel the smart decision may be to bite the bullet and re-arrange the event for a different date to avoid the competition.