WEC-UFC Talent Merger in the Works?

By Jason Probst Aug 5, 2008
Talk of a potential migration of the WEC’s 205- and 185-pound divisions to the UFC could be more than just rumors, and the answer might play out in the coming months.

For months, rumors have been circulating -– and, occasionally reported in MMA media outlets -– that the WEC may disband those two divisions and send some of the top fighters competing there to the UFC.

Reed Harris, WEC president, declined to confirm or deny the status of a potential reshuffling of the rosters when contacted Monday by Sherdog.com. Harris did confirm that the concept has been acknowledged as a possibility by UFC president Dana White, and matchmakers Joe Silva and Scott Adams of the UFC and WEC, respectively.

“We have had some discussions about our weight divisions, but nothing has been set or finalized,” Harris said. “We’ve heard the same rumors. We’ve had those discussions since day one. About what weight classes (might be involved), I really have no official statement. I know people are talking about it. I’ve had reporters call me and ask the same questions for eight months about it.”

Indications, both informal and on the record, have been enough to draw attention to hardcore industry watchers. At a UFC 83 Q&A session with fans in April, White addressed the question.

"We're going to make the WEC the smaller weights and the UFC will be the heavier weights,” White told The Canadian Press. “We'll probably take some of the guys in the higher weights, the champions over there and bring them into UFC. We're still trying to figure that out."

Possibly foreshadowing the imminent shift, the WEC’s Sept. 3 show will headline featherweight champ Urijah Faber (Pictures) in his sixth title defense against Mike Brown, while 185-pound boss Paulo Filho (Pictures) rematches Team Quest’s Chael Sonnen (Pictures) to put to rest a controversial March meeting in the co-main event that night.

For the WEC, the move could make sense. While the 135-, 145- and 155-pound divisions have viable depth in their ranks, outside of Filho and Sonnen, the middleweights lack a top 10 fighter, as does the light heavyweight division.
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