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The WEC comes up big yet again

This review will be much shorter than usual, because as I write this I am just about ready to catch a flight.

But I just wanted to say that last night’s WEC show was perhaps the best MMA show I have ever seen on basic cable. If you did not enjoy last night’s show, I have to question whether you are a true MMA fan.

There weren’t any fight of the year candidates, however, all the matches provided great action. Even the Rob McCullough vs. Jamie Varner match, which started out slow, had its moments, especially the end, which I thought was insane. How many times did Varner have to nearly finish McCullough before he was declared the winner?

Manny Tapia vs. Antonio Banuelos was a great opener with back and forth action. Miguel Torres vs. Chase Beebe was short, but the ending sequence was thrilling and the announce team did a good job of selling the title change. Carlos Condit vs. Carlo Prater was a little disappointing in that I expected Prater to provide a stiffer test. But Condit’s win came off well on live television and made him look more of a star than he ever has before.

What I love about the WEC fights are that they are true MMA fights. They can go anywhere (standing or on the ground) at just about any time and the momentum changes are frequent. Just because a guy dominates the first two minutes doesn’t mean he’s going to be dominating the final seconds of the bout.

From a production standpoint, the show was nearly flawless. The pacing was not too fast, nor too slow. To me, Todd Harris has his best showing yet as a play-by-play announcer. He seemed to be more of a factor during the telecast and sounded more confident in his delivery. While I am a big fan of Frank Mir’s broadcast work, a more equitable split between the two as far as mic time is concerned as definitely an upgrade.

In regards to Mir, even his work was better than usual. One of my only complaints is that sometimes he can be a bit scattered when it comes to composing his thoughts. He really seemed to be focused and on point.

Overall, the way the show was presented is how every basic cable MMA show should be presented. We didn’t get killed with commercials and the broadcast came off as high-end, as there were no cheesy segments with interviewers having to interview half-interested movie stars about some soon-to-be box office bomb. The only in-show product placement we saw was from the WEC promoting its champions. Urijah Faber was used on the announce team and Doug Marshall got some mic time between fights to pump up his March fight vs. Brian Stann for the WEC light heavyweight title.

I also liked the pre-taped segment they did highlighting the fact that the WEC show was emanating from New Mexico, which has emerged as a hot bed for MMA. I would love to see more of those type of features.

The element of a larger crowd also added a lot of energy to the show. There’s nothing wrong with having a few “B” shows at the Palms or Hard Rock, but I’ll take the atmosphere of a big arena show as opposed to the “intimate” feel of a smaller show any day of the week. The WEC fighters came across as bigger stars last night.

The idea that both the UFC and WEC are produced by the same company is crazy to me because the WEC shows are so much better from a production standpoint. Some of the music the UFC uses is cheesy and their graphics are nothing special. The lighting, the sound, and the production effects are so much more crisp for the WEC. And I’m convinced the UFC is holding out on HD customers when it comes to their pay-per-views. I can’t think of a logical explanation, but last night’s WEC HD broadcast on Versus was way better than what I witnessed during UFC 81 several weeks back.

For me, if ESPN or HBO ever did an MMA show, the vision I have of it pretty much is what I saw on Versus last night. I don’t think I can give higher praise than that.

  • Sam Cupitt says:

    I like the introduction sequence to the WEC more than the UFC’s. The whole Gladiator thing with heavy metal behind it, gets ya going but it still looks a little dated.

    My only peeves are hen the WEC holds shows in the casino in Las Vegas it kinda sounds like there is 4 people in the audience and when the fighters come out through that door that looks 2 metres away from the cage it kinda gives off the impression its in some dude’s garage. Also, Todd Harris as a play by play commentator sometimes says outlandish weird shit that makes it seem like he’s lost. Like at WEC 29 he said something like “Just when you tyihnk you have Condit controlled he throws up a jiu jitsu move you’ve never seen before.”

    But there’s no doubt they have great fights from Middleweight downwards.

  • platypus says:

    seems like more booing at wec shows, wish i could turn down the crowd volume and only hear frank mirs awesome commentating.

    how did they screw up counting the scorecards?…and do they always read cecil peoples scoring backwards?

  • platypus says:

    but that was prob just as good as ufc 81 in my books, minus nogs win, awesome show

  • koolpaw says:

    wow, i loved this show coz they focused on FIGHT itself as Sam mentioned. Pure MMA fights, Pure Actions in any positions, And they were Non-Stop.

    but… why they hold their events on mid of the week???? its our daytime of Thursday, its super hard to watch for us ! Now I am jealous =(

  • roomservicetaco says:

    Amen to everything Sam said. Lightr fighters are more dynamic and the WEC production is always very sharp. Was fantastic when Mir & Faber were commenting on the Torres fight – they both now and explain well the finer points of mma, esp the ground game.

  • Sam Cupitt says:

    Oh and one more thing I think needs to be tightened up a bit is the post fight interview. Mir does a great job commentating but the post fight interviews seem a bit… awkward.

    I’ve never really been a big fan of the whole “walk us through what you see on the big screen” because only a select few fighters are good at it and make it worth watching but meh, all in all, who gives a shite.

  • Grape Knee High says:

    Good show.

    Was I the only one who thought the announcer called Tapia “The Mengele” at the beginning of the fighter rather than “The Mangler”? I was like, holy shit, did this guy really nickname himself after the Nazi butcher? Thank god I just mis-heard that.

    Mir was excellent. Easily better than Rogan at calling out BJJ transitions.

  • Jeff says:

    That was the best production I’ve seen on ANY televised MMA event. The opening graphics hyping the individual fighters, set to some crazy music was awesome, transitions were smooth, hell..this show had less commercials than the last UFC ppv. I don’t get how Zuffa let’s their main brand get smoked like that from a production standpoint.

    Well put Sam.

  • Derek B. says:

    I love the WEC because of how exciting the fights were.

    I only was able to watch the first 3 fights…I thought that Tapia fight was a draw I was a little upset to see Tapia get the win.

    Can someone let me know who lost their belts last night and who kept theirs?

  • Sam Cupitt says:

    Razor Rob lost his belt and so did Chase Beebe. Carlos Condit kept his.

  • Derek B. says:


    I seen Chase lose his belt in fashion. That was the last fight that I seen that night. It was crazy how Miguel was able to transition from 3 different Submission and end up winning with the Gulliotine choke.

    I think the WEC has the most exciting fights. I love watching the lighter weight fighters.

  • Dan K. says:

    Did anyone besides me see the UFC 82 Ad during the WEC event last night that said Keith Jardine was fighting Kongo (Instead of herring)? I even had to rewind it like 5 times on my DVR and I swear they said his name? Am I crazy? Did I miss an announcement?

  • Ian says:

    Basically just a whole lot of agreement on this end. Great card and production last night. 2 in a row, as I see it. Also agree with the commentating. Mir does a great job, leaving only something to be desired in the post fight interviews. I can forgive that though, most people don’t know how hard it is to get athlete’s to say something interesting or insightful after they’ve just spent almost the entirety of their energy and emotion on the field, in the ring, octagon, or what have you.

  • garth says:

    I disagree on some points. The handling of the aftermath of the tapia fight, with the ring announcer starting and stopping, was goofy, as well as the fact that they couldn’t count 6 numbers properly. Add to that the unbelievable “timeout” call in the varner-mccullough fight and you have something that left me with an amateurish feel. Of course, the fact that they had a ring entrance that was longer than 50′ was nice, even though many of the crowd shots showed a less-than-capacity house. anyone have attendance numbers?
    i missed the PPV aspect in an important respect: the undercard fights looked like there was some super-exciting stuff. i saw (on sherdog’s PBP) some neat results i’d like to get an eyeball on.
    as for the production, some tribal tattoo art and cheap nu metal doesn’t do it for me. the whole “gritty art + talking head” thing’s gotta go, it’s tired as hell. UFC does it with gladiators, WEC does it with frat boy tats. yawrn.
    Frank Mir is awesome, and Urijah Faber dropping the “mex mullet” comment on Torres (who’s a MONSTER…) was sweet. Viva la mullet!
    overall a nice card.

  • Derek B. says:

    Garth I too thought that was very unprofessional when they messed up the cards on the first fight. I can only imagine how that made Antonio feel to know he lost fight..after they said it was a draw.

    That was the only problem I seen.

  • Danny says:

    how weird that i work in the same building as beebe’s dad and my wife’s 9yr old cousin attends torres’ school. that torres guy is sick. he reminded me alot of nate diaz in the way that he is constantly firing off subs. beebe had no answer 4 this guy.

  • roomservicetaco says:

    Yes, agree that Mir does a poor job at post-fight interviews. But, overall as I said before, I really like the WEC fights and the Vs. production/commentary team.

    For some reason I’ll never understand, Spike shows UFC at the same time as the WEC . Last night, watched Arelio-Guida during lulls in WEC. It’s amazing how annoying the UFC presentation is compared to WEC’s straightforward commentary. Goldberg pumps up his faux-hype meter to high and speaks as though he and the audience is seeing mma for the first time. Rogan is getting better and better with his technical insights but no match for someone like Mir (or Faber).

    The time-out and judging snafu’s were not the fault of WEC or Vs. Both have happened in other shows – mma and boxing. Jose Luis Castillo was involved in 2, for example. Once when he won the ltweight title in the dressing room after retabulating the scores and again in the first Corrales fight with the spit mouthpiece.

    I didn’t have a huge problem with the to in the Varner fight. He waited until a lull in the action, then alerted the ref that his mouthpiece was out. That’s exactly what the ref should have done anyway. At the time of the pause, McC was not in striking distance.

  • Guy Gaduois says:

    Jamie Varner’s “time out” should fall to blame at the Porn Stache’s feet.
    The scorecard “re-take” was puzzling.

    But I agree with the quality of broadcast, and thought Mir (Merrrr?) did a fantastic job. His improvement is noticeable and appreciated. The after fight interviews are great for some surprise ‘F Bombs’ (Varner – nice!), but largely they should let the fighters thank their corner and support, what they’re looking forward to and jettison the “walk us through”, because more than half the time, the winning fighter can’t compose a rational thought.

    Production was very tight, and I was impressed because they were working from a new venue and there were few noticeable drops.

    Wanted to hear an announcement for Faber v. Pulver, but the Filho/Sonnen and Marshall/Stann fight looks very, very good.

    The WEC is a superior product to me as a consumer. I would think a joint promotion UFC/WEC is in the works, likely with the Faber/Pulver fight as an integral part of the card. It would allow a gauging of whether WEC is a viable PPV entity. Seeing if Faber/Pulver makes any kind of buzz around a UFC ppv would be an interesting first step in setting the tone for WEC’s future in PPV.

  • Mike Wolfe says:

    Mir is the best “play by play” commentator in the business. On several broadcasts including the fights last night he explained how a fighter should react, and just as he completed his sentence, that’s exactly what the fighter did. No substitute for personal experience, I guess. Echo the earlier comments about the lighter weight classes; non-stop action and generally fast paced. Really entertaining MMA.

  • jj says:

    This was a great show! Too bad it wasn’t aired in Canada.

    I don’t know if it’s the production or the athletes, but WEC fighters seem to “want” it a lot more than some of the UFC guys that are just trying to eek out a win by not losing, rather than taking risks to finish the fight. To me it’s not as much about who wins, but if it’s an exciting fight.

    I couldn’t agree more about the production of WEC. UFC is extremely cheesy with that stupid 10 year old back to back limp bizkit songs and the corny opera drama crap or any of their other overplayed songs. Their constant ad-whoring is extremely annoying. If I’m paying 40 or 50 bucks to buy a PPV event I don’t care about what the new video game is or what the “hot” new movie is (as a general rule I don’t watch movies advertised in UFC events).

    This is a little off topic but every promotion should take a lesson from the recent Cage Rage event, their camera work was GREAT. Nobody else in MMA seems to be able to operate a boom camera in a useful fashion, which is sad because when it’s done right it gets you right into the action (without looking through a stupid fence). Also I think the cage should, does it really need to be 6 or 7 feet high? This costs alot of camera angles.

  • bubbafat says:

    I hate to add insult to injury ,but, it was televised on TSN last night untill 11 pacific. It kinda sucks up here becaus for some reason MMA events don’t show up on my guide or anything when they are on cable. I got lucky and surfed and caught the last hour.

  • Evan says:

    “Too bad it wasn’t aired in Canada.”

    What’s the deal with MMA being broadcast in Canada? I read snippits from people complaining about it but I don’t get the whole story. It seems like you can show some MMA but this is only recent?

  • dale hunter is god says:

    “What’s the deal with MMA being broadcast in Canada? I read snippits from people complaining about it but I don’t get the whole story. It seems like you can show some MMA but this is only recent” pretty well all of the shows are televised you just have to know what channel it’s on, “WEC” was on TSN at about 1am.

  • Natrix says:

    I think Mir does a great job. I find myself hearing what he says, then rewinding to see exactly what he’s talking about. When Miguel Torres was bustin out those crazy transitions, Frank Mir “WOW!!” Priceless.

  • Kelvin says:

    For anybody that thought Tapia should not have won that fight…you lost.

  • THORAZINE says:

    WEC is pretty damn good, but sorry I still like UFC better for it’s pre-fight build up, Micheal Buffer, Joe Rogan and great lineup of 155lb fighters.

    WEC is getting better, and I’m a fan of their lightweight division.

  • This was a great card.

    MMA Kamander gives this card 4 stars.

    4 stars for Carlo Prater vs. Carlos Condit
    4 stars for Jamie Varner vs. Rob McCullough
    4.5 stars for Miguel Torres vs. Chase Beebe
    4 stars for Manny Tapia vs. Antonio Banuelos
    3 stars for Hiroyuki Takaya vs. Leonard Garcia

    Events and fights are rated from 1-5 stars based on:
    – action and excitement
    – skill and technique
    – significance and interest

  • Ryan says:

    does any body know brian stann’s song called he comes out to

  • stan says:

    hey man awesome fight….i wanna know what is the name of the song while you were walking out to the cage for Urijah Faber. When he was fighting Jeff Curran?


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