WEC Exec: Attendance for Aldo-Faber PPV Could Exceed 15K

By Brian Knapp Feb 25, 2010
It has all the signs of a landmark moment, and World Extreme Cagefighting General Manager Reed Harris has done little to slow the hype machine.

Harris thinks WEC 48 “Aldo vs. Faber” on April 24 could draw more than 15,000 fans to the Arco Arena in Sacramento, Calif. By comparison, the WEC’s most recent event in the Golden State’s capital city claimed an attendance of 10,027 last month.

“We had a record pre-sale,” Harris said during a Thursday teleconference. “Ticket sales are trending very well. I think there could be upwards of 15,000 or so there.”

WEC 48, which marks the promotion’s historic debut on pay-per-view, will feature a pair of five-round title bouts, including the ballyhooed headliner between featherweight champion Jose Aldo and former titleholder Urijah Faber.

Aldo, Sherdog’s 2009 “Fighter of the Year,” has not competed since November, when he blasted through American Top Team’s Mike Thomas Brown and captured 145-pound gold in a second-round technical knockout. Spawned by the Nova Uniao camp in Brazil, the 23-year-old will carry a nine-fight winning streak into his showdown with Faber. Aldo rose to the top of the featherweight division without much resistance, as he finished his first six foes inside the WEC, three of them inside one round.

Still the promotion’s most marketable commodity, Faber submitted Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Raphael Assuncao with a third-round rear-naked choke in the WEC 46 co-main event a month ago. The charismatic 30-year-old Californian has won 15 of his past 17 fights, losing only to Brown in that span.

Though the $44.95 price for the PPV remains a point of contention with some, Harris believes fans “will get their money’s worth” with the WEC 48 card, which includes a rematch between WEC lightweight champion Benson Henderson and Donald Cerrone. Still, it figures to sink or swim on the strength of the main event.

“In talking to the guys upstairs, [UFC President] Dana [White] and all them, they all believe this could be one of the best fights of the decade,” Harris said. “We’re very confident about it.”

All was not roses on the business front, as the dispute between the Versus network, which carries WEC events, and DirecTV rages on. It seems doubtful the debate will be settled in time for the promotion’s next show, which boasts a bantamweight title bout between undefeated champion Brian Bowles and the once-beaten Dominick Cruz on March 6.

“The last I heard, they were talking,” WEC Vice President Peter Dropick said. “I think I’ve been saying that for the last four [conference] calls. I haven’t been told that it wouldn’t happen [in time for WEC 47]. We’re hopeful it’s going to happen. There’s certainly some interesting programming coming up on Versus in the next month and a half.”
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