At the Press Conference following UFC 101, Dana White said that the idea of combining the two Zuffa-owned organizations was being discussed.
Versus, the main outlet for the WEC, was recently dropped by DirecTV, and there has been speculation that WEC 43 was postponed because of the expired deal. (Versus chalked up the new date to Ben Henderson's undisclosed injury.)
With the real possibility existing that the end of the month could mean the end of the line in terms of television exposure for the WEC, a possible merger with the UFC makes sense now more than ever.
While logistics would need to be sorted out (staffing, operations, etc.), bringing the ultra-entertaining lighter-division fighters into the UFC would present some interesting options.
Zuffa's outstanding relationship with Spike TV could serve as a strong starting point.
Instead of hours of Unleashed featuring fights even casual fans have seen before, some of that air-time could be dedicated to WEC standouts like Mike Brown, Urijah Faber, Miguel Torres and Brian Bowles.
Last weekend illustrated the loyalty of UFC fans, as a rebroadcast of UFC 100 drew much larger numbers than Strikeforce's live event on Showtime. Though both were clearly successful for their respective brands, it's clear that the UFC brand draws viewers.
And who wouldn't want an added level of excitement and energy to sport's top promotion?
WEC events are routinely more entertaining and action-packed than the UFC's, and it showed when the two organizations went live on back-to-back nights at the start of the month.
Though UFC 101 featured bigger names and drew a bigger audience, WEC 42 was a much more complete card with more entertaining fights, including Brian Bowles' upset of Miguel Torres in the main event. Three rounds of Dominick Cruz vs. Joseph Benavidez undoubtedly trumped Kendall Grove vs. Ricardo Almeida.
Opponents to a UFC-WEC merger often cite the inevitable release of various fighters to accommodate such a move, as the UFC would like have to make roster deletions.
But the UFC routinely trims its rosters to make room for new talent, so how would this potential merger and influx of talent be any different?
In fact, it would be an even more reasonable move as the UFC would be bringing in some of the top fighters in the world in the featherweight and bantamweight divisions, as well as some talented lightweights at the expense of fighters currently at the bottom of their divisional totem poles.
In the last two weeks, the UFC has cut ties with Thales Leites and TamdanMcCrory at the expense of veteran acquisitions Vladimir Matyushenko and Phil Baroni. Doesn't Urijah Faber have more appeal and drawing power than those two returning warriors combined?
With the market for mixed martial arts and the exposure of the UFC growing with each passing day, an influx of championship-caliber competitors to what is already the deepest and most talented roster of fighters would only strengthen the standing of the UFC's hold on the market. And adding the two new divisions would provide two new titles for the organization, giving it even more main event options for pay-per-view cards.
Though it would certainly take some time to introduce the incoming fighters and champions to those currently in the UFC vacuum, it wouldn't take long for the talents of some of the top WEC fighters to shine through, transforming them from unknown quantities to fan favorites and headlining acts.