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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?

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