While the WEC’s eventual move to pay-per-view has been prominent news lately, the promotion has reportedly been working on a new multi-year deal with Versus, which has been the exclusive broadcaster of WEC events for nearly two years now:
Versus is about to sign a multiyear rights extension with World Extreme Cagefighting, an important renewal for the mixed martial arts property. The long-term extension, which should be finalized in the next few weeks, will have Versus televising more WEC fight cards in 2009. Last year, it had six WEC events on its schedule.
Versus is paying a rights fee for the programming, but details were not available. The extension will be for more than two years. The deal will give Versus some broadband rights as well, allowing Versus.com to carry some WEC bouts not telecast on the network, sources said. The bouts will not be streamed live.
It’s clear that the WEC isn’t ready to hold a PPV event that would generate financial success just yet. They might not even be ready before the end of this year, which is why having Versus dedicated to them for the near future is extremely important.
Other than that, the potential of Versus.com being able to host some of the non-televised preliminary bouts is another step in the right direction. It’s obviously not going to gain the popularity of the “UFC Vault” but should allow fans to be able to watch fights they haven’t seen and follow some lesser-known fighters.