World Extreme Cagefighting

Last updated

Industry Mixed martial arts promotion
Successor Ultimate Fighting Championship
FounderScott Adams
Reed Harris

World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) was an American mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion founded in 2001. It was purchased by Zuffa, LLC, the parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), in 2006. In its final incarnation, it was made up of 3 weight classes: 135 lb (61 kg), 145 lb (66 kg) and 155 lb (70 kg). To accommodate the smaller fighters, WEC's cage was 25 feet (7.6 m) in diameter—5 feet (1.5 m) smaller than the standard UFC cage.

Mixed martial arts full contact combat sport

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a full-contact combat sport that allows striking and grappling, both standing and on the ground, using techniques from various combat sports and martial arts. The first documented use of the term mixed martial arts was in a review of UFC 1 by television critic Howard Rosenberg in 1993. The term gained popularity when, then one of the largest websites covering the sport, hosted and republished the article. The question of who actually coined the term is subject to debate.

Ultimate Fighting Championship Mixed martial arts promoter based in Las Vegas

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is an American mixed martial arts promotion company based in Las Vegas, Nevada, that is owned and operated by parent company William Morris Endeavor. It is the largest MMA promotion company in the world and features the highest-level fighters on the roster. The UFC produces events worldwide that showcase twelve weight divisions and abide by the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts. As of 2018, the UFC has held over 400 events. Dana White serves as the president of the UFC. White has held that position since 2001; while under his stewardship, the UFC has grown into a globally popular multi-billion-dollar enterprise.



Scott Adams and Reed Harris started the organization in 2001. Between 2001 and 2006, most of their events were held at Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino in Lemoore, California, and aired on HDNet.

Lemoore, California City in California in California

Lemoore is a city in Kings County, California, United States. Lemoore is located 7.5 miles (12 km) west-southwest of Hanford, at an elevation of 230 feet (70 m). It is part of the Hanford-Corcoran Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 24,531 at the 2010 Census. The California Department of Finance estimated that Lemoore's population was 25,892 on January 1, 2018.

In December 2006, Zuffa purchased WEC. With the purchase, WEC continued as a separate promotion with its own roster of fighters. Adams was retained after the purchase as the organization's matchmaker. Harris and Adams were named co-General Managers and were both active in the new WEC. [1] In 2008, Sean Shelby was named the new match-maker for the promotion by Zuffa.

Zuffa made several changes to the promotion after the purchase. It discontinued its pentagonal cage for a modified version of the UFC's octagonal cage. The championships of fighters who were contracted UFC fighters were vacated. The promotion moved to focus on lighter weight classes, abandoning their heavyweight and super heavyweight divisions and championships, and retaining their bantamweight and featherweight divisions—two divisions not then present in the UFC. [2] After the purchase, several WEC events were held in Zuffa's hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada, much like the UFC.

The heavyweight division in mixed martial arts (MMA) generally groups fighters between 206–265 lb (93.4–120.2 kg).

The bantamweight division in mixed martial arts refers to a number of different weight classes:

The featherweight division in mixed martial arts refers to different weight classes:

WEC aired their events live on Versus (formerly known as the Outdoor Life Network and now as the NBC Sports Network) in the United States and on TSN (and later The Score) in Canada. [3] WEC's first live event was broadcast on June 3, 2007 on Versus from The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

The Sports Network (TSN) is a Canadian English language sports specialty service. Established by the Labatt Brewing Company in 1984 as part of the first group of Canadian specialty cable channels, since 2001, TSN has been majority-owned by communications conglomerate BCE Inc. with a minority stake held by ESPN Inc. via a 20% share in the Bell Media subsidiary CTV Specialty Television. TSN is the largest specialty channel in Canada in terms of gross revenue, with a total of $400.4 million in revenue in 2013.

The Joint (music venue)

The Joint is a 4,000 seat showroom located inside the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Paradise, Nevada. This is a common venue for classic rock and modern rock bands in the Las Vegas Valley.

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (Las Vegas) hotel & casino skyscraper in Las Vegas

The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is a resort near the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada. It is owned by Virgin Hotels in partnership with an investment group, and operated by Warner Gaming. It is planned to be renovated and rebranded as Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. The property is located on 16.7 acres (6.8 ha) on the corner of Harmon and Paradise Road.

Todd Harris was the play by play announcer on every televised WEC event on Versus, and was joined by former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir on color commentary until the spring of 2010, when Mir was replaced by UFC light heavyweight Stephan Bonnar. Fellow Zuffa fighters Kenny Florian and Jens Pulver have also filled in on color commentary due to Mir or Bonnar's absences. UFC announcers Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan called WEC's only pay-per-view event, WEC 48 in April 2010. Postfight interviews on the Versus-televised cards were typically done by either Harris or Versus sportscaster Craig Hummer.

Todd Harris is a sports announcer and reporter for NBC Sports, with current duties focused in Olympic and extreme sports. A graduate of Brigham Young University with a bachelor's degree in communications and broadcast journalism, Harris' sports media career began in 1991 with ESPN. While employed there through 2007, his workload mainly consisted of college football, the X Games, and IndyCar, which included the role of lap-by-lap announcer for ABC's coverage of the 2005 Indianapolis 500. In the past, he has also contributed to Turner Sports' coverage of the NBA playoffs and the 1998 Winter Olympics.

Frank Mir American MMA fighter

Francisco Santos "Frank" Mir III is an American mixed martial artist and professional wrestler who competes for Bellator MMA in the Heavyweight division. He formerly competed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) for sixteen years. A former UFC Heavyweight Champion, he currently holds the record for most fights, victories, and submissions in UFC Heavyweight history, and is tied for 4th most UFC victories overall. Mir possessed the longest uninterrupted tenure of any fighter in UFC history. He was the first man to knock out and the first to submit Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira.

Stephan Bonnar American mixed martial arts fighter

Stephan Patrick Bonnar is an American professional wrestler and retired professional mixed martial artist. Bonnar competed as a Light Heavyweight in the UFC for most of his career. Bonnar was the runner-up on The Ultimate Fighter 1, his TUF Ultimate Finale loss to Forrest Griffin is considered to be one of the most important fights in the history of the UFC. He is currently under contract for Bellator MMA. For most of his MMA career Bonnar played the "role of the underdog", this is particularly exemplified in his fight with Anderson Silva at UFC 153. In addition to Griffin and Silva, Bonnar faced world champions Lyoto Machida, Tito Ortiz, Mark Coleman, Jon Jones, and Rashad Evans.

Joe Martinez served as the announcer for Zuffa-promoted WEC events until April 2010, when he left the organization and was replaced by UFC announcer Bruce Buffer. However, Martinez made a one-off return at WEC 52 that November when Buffer was overseas for a UFC event.

WEC announced that it would dissolve their light heavyweight and middleweight divisions after their December 3, 2008 event to further their concentration on lighter classes. Fighters from the light heavyweight and middleweight divisions started fighting in the UFC after the dissolution of their divisions. [4] Also, on February 3, 2009, WEC officially announced the creation of a 125 lb (57 kg) flyweight division and the dissolution of its welterweight division (flyweight would have been the last division under the "Unified Rules of MMA" to be activated under Zuffa, excluding Super Heavyweight). Fighters from the welterweight division started fighting in the UFC after the dissolution of their division. The only weight class that still crossed over between WEC and the UFC prior to the merger was the 155 lb (70 kg) lightweight division. [5]

On January 8, 2010, World Extreme Cagefighting announced that AMP Energy would be the official energy drink of WEC. Amp Energy also sponsored three of WEC's top stars - featherweight Urijah Faber, featherweight Chad Mendes, and bantamweight Joseph Benavidez.

On April 24, 2010, WEC held its only pay-per-view event, WEC 48, which featured two championship fights. The main event featured WEC Featherweight Champion José Aldo defending his title against former champion Urijah Faber. [6]

On October 28, 2010, UFC President Dana White announced that WEC would merge with the UFC. [7]

Relationship with UFC

Due to its shared ownership under Zuffa, fans and commentators had continually speculated about a unification between WEC and the UFC, particularly the lower weight classes. [8] [9] [10] The relationship between the WEC and UFC had also been complicated by their respective primary partnerships with cable television channels, Versus and Spike, Fight Magazine reported. [11] On October 28, 2010, Dana White announced the merger with the UFC. [12]

Media coverage

On December 11, 2006 UFC parent-company, Zuffa formalized plans to buy World Extreme Cagefighting, to be run as a separate promotion from the UFC. Following the purchase of WEC, Zuffa made several changes to the promotion. One of the most noteworthy changes included added media exposure when WEC signed a deal to air events on Versus beginning with WEC 28. Prior to this WEC had broadcast most of their events on HDNet.

While on Versus, WEC drew good ratings that averaged around 575,000 average viewers per event. However ratings ranged from 245,000 to 1,500,000.

The biggest ratings draw for WEC was Urijah Faber. When Faber was featured in a main event he drew an average of 840,000 viewers. Faber was also featured in both main events (34 and 41) that drew over a million viewers for WEC.

The following table shows the international broadcasting of WEC events:

Flag of Australia (converted).svg Australia Setanta Sports Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Canada The Score Flag of Brazil.svg Brazil Canal Combate
Flag of Denmark.svg Denmark Canal 9 Flag of Israel.svg IsraelEgoTotal Flag of Mexico.svg MexicoCanal 28
Flag of the United States.svg U.S. Versus Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom Extreme Sports

See also

Related Research Articles

The flyweight division in mixed martial arts – as defined by the Nevada State Athletic Commission combat sports doctrine and by the Association of Boxing Commissions – groups together all competitors 125 lb (57 kg) and below. It sits between Strawweight and Bantamweight.

Urijah Faber American mixed martial arts fighter

Urijah Christopher Faber is a retired American mixed martial artist and actor who fought as a bantamweight and featherweight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Faber won the WEC Featherweight Championship at WEC 19 on March 17, 2006, and held the title for over two years until losing it to Mike Brown at WEC 36 on November 5, 2008. Faber is widely regarded as one of the sport's pioneers for establishing legitimacy to lighter weight classes in MMA. After retirement on July 6, 2017 Faber was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame as a part of the Modern-era wing.

WEC 25 WEC MMA event in 2007

WEC 25: McCullough vs. Cope was the first mixed martial arts event held by the World Extreme Cagefighting under Zuffa management. The event was held on January 20, 2007. WEC 25's main event was a championship fight for the vacant WEC Lightweight Title, between rivals Rob McCullough and Kit Cope. The co-main event was a WEC Featherweight Title bout between champion, Urijah Faber and challenger Joe Pearson.

Ivan Menjivar is a Salvadorian-Canadian mixed martial artist who formerly fought in the featherweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Manvel Gamburyan is an Armenian-American mixed martial artist who has competed in the UFC's lightweight, featherweight, and bantamweight divisions. A professional competitor since 1999, he was a cast member of Spike TV's The Ultimate Fighter 5, and also competed in the WEC and for King of the Cage.

WEC 28 WEC MMA event in 2007

WEC 28: Faber vs. Farrar was the fourth mixed martial arts event held by the World Extreme Cagefighting under Zuffa management. The event was held on June 3, 2007. WEC 28 was the first WEC to be aired live on the Versus Network. The main event was a Featherweight title defense by WEC Featherweight champion, Urijah Faber.

WEC 31 WEC MMA event in 2007

WEC 31: Faber vs. Curran was a mixed martial arts (MMA) event held by World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC). The event took place on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada and was aired live on the Versus Network.

Jeffrey M. Curran is an American retired professional mixed martial artist. A professional competitor since 1998, Curran has fought at a number of different weight classes for a large number of promotions including Bellator, the UFC, Strikeforce, PRIDE Fighting Championships, WEC, IFL, the RFA, and KOTC.

WEC 34 WEC MMA event in 2008

WEC 34: Faber vs. Pulver was a mixed martial arts event held by World Extreme Cagefighting that took place on June 1, 2008 at the ARCO Arena in Sacramento, California. The main event, announced on WEC 33, was a bout between Jens Pulver and Urijah Faber for the WEC Featherweight Championship. WEC 34 was aired live on Versus.

Mike Brown (fighter) American mixed martial arts fighter

Michael Thomas Brown is a retired American mixed martial artist who competed at Featherweight in the UFC. A professional competitor since 2001, Brown is a former WEC Featherweight Champion, and has also fought in the Japanese promotion DEEP, as well as BodogFIGHT.

WEC 36 WEC MMA event in 2008

WEC 36: Faber vs. Brown was a mixed martial arts event held by World Extreme Cagefighting that took place on November 5, 2008 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The event aired live on the Versus Network.

WEC 38 WEC MMA event in 2009

WEC 38: Varner vs. Cerrone was a mixed martial arts event held by World Extreme Cagefighting on January 25, 2009. It aired live on the Versus Network. In the main event, WEC Lightweight Champion Jamie Varner defended his title against undefeated top contender Donald Cerrone.

Joseph Benavidez American MMA fighter

Joseph Rolando Benavidez is an American mixed martial artist. After fighting in smaller shows while working as a screen printer in Las Cruces, New Mexico, he joined up with Urijah Faber's Team Alpha Male in 2007. He has since fought in Dream and more recently the World Extreme Cagefighting promotion. He currently fights as a flyweight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. His fighting style has drawn comparisons to training partner and former WEC Featherweight Champion Urijah Faber.On April 27, 2010, the Mayor and City Council of the City of Las Cruces proclaimed April 27 as Joseph Benavidez Day in Las Cruces. As of December 18, 2018, he is ranked #2 in the official UFC flyweight rankings.

WEC 40 WEC MMA event in 2009

WEC 40: Torres vs. Mizugaki was a mixed martial arts event held by World Extreme Cagefighting on April 5, 2009 at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois. The event aired live on the Versus Network.

Dominick Cruz American MMA fighter

Dominick Rojelio Cruz (born March 9, 1985 in Tucson, Arizona) is an American mixed martial artist. He fights in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and is a two-time UFC Bantamweight Champion. Cruz was also the final bantamweight titleholder of World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC).

Palace Fighting Championship (PFC) was a mixed martial arts (MMA) organization based in the United States that was created in 2007 by Christian Printup. It ceased operations in 2009.

WEC 52 WEC MMA event in 2010

WEC 52: Faber vs. Mizugaki was a mixed martial arts event held by World Extreme Cagefighting on November 11, 2010 at The Pearl at The Palms in Las Vegas.


  1. Ken Pishna, Ivan Trembow (December 11, 2006). "UFC Buying World Extreme Cagefighting". MMAWeekly.External link in |publisher= (help)
  2. Savage, Greg (January 4, 2007). "The Savage Truth: When is a Loss a Win?". Sherdog.
  3. Pishna, Ken (December 28, 2006). "UFC on HBO; WEC on Versus". MMAWeekly.External link in |publisher= (help)
  4. Martin, Damon (August 26, 2008). "WEC shuts down 205 & 185-pound weight classes". Retrieved August 26, 2008.
  5. "WEC axes welterweights; announces flyweights". February 3, 2009. Retrieved May 1, 2009.
  6. "WEC".
  8. "UFC has weight-and-see attitude for WEC -".
  9. "A UFC-WEC merger? Why not?".
  10. "Is there room in MMA for the WEC?". October 4, 2009.
  11. "With UFC's Recent Moves, White's Predictions Might Have Been Conservative".
  12. Ariel Helwani (October 28, 2010). "Exclusive: Dana White Announces UFC-WEC Merger" via YouTube.