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WEC 48: To buy or not to buy, that is the question

In an effort to write about something other than Kanye Miller and the “mayhem” he caused on Saturday night that has been poured over in every blog, vlog, website, Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare check-in, I thought I would focus on the MMA palette cleanser of the week WEC 48.

Dana White’s newest challenge, take a free-model of extremely talented fighters on Versus and move it to PPV and charge people for the same fighters in some of the same fights.

Arguably the Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar moment that established the UFC in the eyes of the main stream would come at WEC 38 when Urijah Faber took on Jens Pulver and then when Urijah lost the title to Mike Brown. Cards without Faber on them tends to hover around 500,000 viewers but put him on the card and you spike to near 1 million, and in a case like the Pulver fight, you get well over that.

But taking a free product and charging for it, isn’t always a sure thing. Lucky for Dana White and the WEC that not only to they have one of the best line-ups of the year but they have the weirdest 14 days in MMA history to wipe away for the benefit of the fans.

After the Anderson Silva Dancing with the Stars tryout in Abu-Dhabi and the Diaz brothers excellent impersonation of Triple H and Shawn Michaels, DX style on CBS, I think you could safely say we are ready for Faber vs. Aldo and a rematch between Donald Cerrone and Ben Henderson.

With WEC heading to PPV this weekend there is really only one question looming, is $44 too much for the first time?

Just in the last 30 days there have been two UFC events north of $50 and then add another $44 to check this card out I am just not sure the causal fan is willing to pay $200 a month in MMA Pay Per Views. Dana White knows this, so the question becomes what is a win?

The first UFC pulled in around 85,000 PPV buys and UFC 111 and 112 did 770,000 and 440,000 respectively, what does WEC need to do in order to be a win for the company and help push the monetary envelope in order to pay the fighters more as Dana has promised in more than a couple interviews this week?

While I think the WEC works much better as a free model on Versus, this certainly could help elevate the fighters to a wider audience. Common estimates say anything better than 100,000 PPV buys would be a victory and less than 50,000 a failure I am thinking 70,000 is going to end up being the number this weekend after the dust settles.

For me the price point is too high, the hardcore fan knows where to get these fights for free and the causal fan probably doesn’t care about WEC yet. However, there is no doubt that this card is stacked, it needed to be and that the fights are going to be great, because they are.

I tout the magic of the WEC to just about anyone I meet with an interest in MMA and some people who have no interest because I think they are some of the best fights in the business. I just think the timing is awful and the price is too high for WEC to be a runaway success despite the “lightning in a bottle” moment of being the first good thing out of a major MMA company in the month of April.

Are you gonna buy this weekend?

18 COMMENTS
  • matt says:

    The closer this event gets the more and more excited I am getting for it. I am seeing more commercials and a ton of hype on the internet. Also the main event is a matchup of the two most exciting fighters in mma today. Then you have a rematch of the 2009 fight of the year as the co-main event, along with Mike Brown a former champion vs. Manny Gamburyan a guy who most likely would have won the ultimate fighter if it was not for his shoulder popping out in his bout with Nate Diaz. Then we also have Scott Jorgesen who has been on a tear lately looking to avenge his loss to Antonio Banueles a Chuck Liddell dicsiple. This card is a definite buy for me.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    This is a great card but being placed in the middle of so many other events-free and ppv- cant help it any. No mistake about it this card will probably be one of the top 5 all year, unfortunatly it will take in less buys than it rightly should. Hardcore fans knowing what we do know DW will replay this card on free tv no doubt soon( May 15th most likely) and we save our $55 for ufc 113.

  • OMNIpotus says:

    Kanye Miller. That’s funny.

  • sides666 says:

    I was hoping that the ppv would be alot cheaper i will still rent it but if the card fails to impress i am done renting thwec ppv

  • Dufresne says:

    I can easily understand why this is the card WEC picked to go to PPV as every one of the fights is exciting on paper. I’m personally buying it and having a bunch of casual MMA fan friends over in hopes to get them excited about the talent the lighter guys bring to the table.

    That being said, I can only do this because I didn’t buy both of the UFC’s in the last month (sadly the one I got sucked balls, thanks Silva). Because of that I don’t really expect many of the MMA faithful to be able to plop down another lump of cash this soon. I’m not trying to say that MMA fans are poor or cheap, it’s just that the vast majority of us tend to fall in that 19-34 year old demographic and I personally don’t know that many 19-34 year olds that can throw $150 around on a regular basis on top of their already high cable bills. There are obviously exceptions, but exceptions don’t usually make up a 100k+ buyout.

  • Angry Mike says:

    It’s the first WEC ppv, so it’s an experiment in terms of price and scheduling. Start high and adjust downward if the buys are low, I guess. I think the real problem is squeezing it in between UFC cards. The orgs will be competing because many fans can’t or won’t pay for both ppv’s.

  • blue says:

    Exciting to see the outcome, however my family budget only allows me to order one card per month (if that) and I would rather spend my money on a UFC card.

    But I wish the WEC well in this endeavor.

  • Personally, I don’t think the PPV route will be an immediate success for WEC, but I’m hoping it does well. The fighters deserve more. Having said that, I’ll be buying. My question to everybody else is, What if the WEC wasn’t on free TV before? If it started strictly with PPV, would you buy this PPV card simply based on the fighters and fights happening on this card (which is the same way I’m assuming most ppl who buy it decide whether or not to spring for it)?

  • 27jride says:

    I love WEC on VS but the thought of buying a PPV never even crossed my mind. I have bought every single UFC since Hughs vs Royce Gracie (including having a friend drive to my house and DVR the 7-7-07 fight because I got married earlier that evening) and I have watched every strikeforce event (my only reason to own showtime). I watch ALMOST every WEC as well ,so I consider myself a hardcore fan for the most part but, there’s no fucking way I’m paying $45 to watch WEC. Never. It has to stop somewhere and I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that way.

  • Guthookd says:

    “the hardcore fan knows where to get these fights for free”

    You got that right. The fuzzy version, which I hate and would gladly avoid if the price point was half what it is. Give me a $25 WEC PPV and I’ll give you $25.

    Come on Dee Dubya.

  • hindsightufuk says:

    I love WEC on VS but the thought of buying a PPV never even crossed my mind. I have bought every single UFC since Hughs vs Royce Gracie (including having a friend drive to my house and DVR the 7-7-07 fight because I got married earlier that evening) and I have watched every strikeforce event (my only reason to own showtime). I watch ALMOST every WEC as well ,so I consider myself a hardcore fan for the most part but, there’s no fucking way I’m paying $45 to watch WEC. Never. It has to stop somewhere and I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that way.  

    seriously? you wont pay because it isnt UFC? even though its guarenteed to be more exciting than any recent UFC events? just because its WEC you wont buy? if the same fights were on UFC card would you buy? seriously i’m interested to know the reasoning because you’re obviously not the only person thinking this way.

    personally i will be downloading it on Sunday morning, dont have any other option being in the UK.

  • Vogairian says:

    The card itself is worthy of being bought, fight wise it’s a very, very good lineup. But I just fall under the group of people who can’t afford to drop $100+ on mma in a month. If I lived close to a sports bar or something along those lines that was showing it, I’d for sure go.

    I personally think the best idea is something along the lines of WEC doing a super card once ever 3-4 months and not do a UFC PPV or once every 3-4 months do a big time combined card. But asking people to buy two cards in one month is just a little too much I think.

  • Vogairian says:

    Personally, I don’t think the PPV route will be an immediate success for WEC, but I’m hoping it does well. The fighters deserve more. Having said that, I’ll be buying. My question to everybody else is, What if the WECwasn’t on free TV before? If it started strictly with PPV, would you buy this PPV card simply based on the fighters and fights happening on this card (which is the same way I’m assuming most ppl who buy it decide whether or not to spring for it)?  

    If it wasn’t free to begin with, sadly, I’d probably have never watched it at all.

  • king mah mah says:

    I can’t afford to add to my cable bill this month. Sorry WEC, but i’m not as rich as you are.

  • blue says:

    seriously? you wont pay because it isnt UFC? even though its guarenteed to be more exciting than any recent UFC events? just because its WEC you wont buy? if the same fights were on UFC card would you buy? seriously i’m interested to know the reasoning because you’re obviously not the only person thinking this way.personally i will be downloading it on Sunday morning, dont have any other option being in the UK.  (Quote)

    Not directed to me, but I’ll chime in.

    Do I ONLY care if a fight card is UFC or non-UFC regardless of the fighters? No, but I would be lieing if I said it didn’t play a significant role and I would consider it very unlikely I would ever by a Pay-Per-View for a non-UFC fight card (MMA or boxing).

    The UFC offers such a complete and organized package for their fans. I know who their five champions are. I know who the top contenders are for each weigth class. I know when the big fight cards are. Coming from someone who watched boxing in the 80s and tried to keep up with all the different weight classes, all the different promotional belts for each weight class, the anemic fight cards (1 super fight with a bunch of nobodies), which fighter were tied to which cable provider (HBO, Cinemax, Showtime) and which fighters were tied to which promoters….it is very clear to me why i eventually lost interest in the headache known as boxing and why I am a big fan of the simplcity of the UFC brand.

    Does this make me less of a die-hard? Am I a UFC nut-hugger? Am I not a true fan of MMA? Meh, who am I to care about these things. What I care about is some sort of congruency and consitency regarding how [quickly] fights are setup and the likelihood they take place. As a customer, I am completely satisfied with the product I buy.

    For comparison sake, I also love college football and likewise I am bias towards the SEC. If given a choice between Ohio St. vs Michigan or South Carolina vs Tennessee, I’ll always watch South Carolina vs Tennessee. In fact, if Ohio St. vs Michigan game becomes a PPV, I most likely would not order the game regardless of how much I like college football. But I would order a South Carolina-Tennessee PPV in a heartbeat.

  • Lethal Liquid says:

    Kanye Miller is great. What is the stumbling block? Just merge the WEC with UFC. You add two weight divisions. More depth for your cards. UFC 108 was ass-tastic would’ve been nice with the extra fighters and talent.

    I will watch at a bar not pay

  • inkythewinky says:

    if ufc absorbed wec i would like to see wec turn into a masters league (dudes that are a name draw but can’t cut it in ufc) or a ifl type of thing, greg jacksons camp vs mark delagrotta’s or something like that)

  • hindsightufuk says:

    Kanye Miller is great. What is the stumbling block? Just merge the WEC with UFC. You add two weight divisions. More depth for your cards. UFC 108 was ass-tastic would’ve been nice with the extra fighters and talent. I will watch at a bar not pay  (Quote)

    funny cos i still think 108 was the most entertaining card so far this year for the UFC!

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