World Extreme Cagefighting has officially announced the abolishment of their 205- and 185-pound divisions following its Dec. 3 event. The promotion announced the move official today on its website while also announcing a bantamweight-title fight between champion Miguel Torres and top contender Manny Tapia.
The long rumored weight-class cut allows the company to focus solely on its lower weight classes including welterweight (170 pounds), lightweight (155), featherweight (145) and bantamweight (135).
"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 of 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 WEC officials, it will move the focus to the lighter weight classes with the light-heavyweight and middleweight classes leaving the promotion in 2009.
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, 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.