UFC to merge with WEC, signs four-event deal with Versus

For once a Dana White major announcement was not only major but one that should bring joy to all MMA fans. Despite all the rumors about the announcement being focused on the UFC debuting on Network Television or setting up its own network the actual announcement was far more exciting and significant, with the UFC President announcing the long-called for merger between the UFC and its sister organization World Extreme Cagefighting. From the beginning of 2011 the UFC will be adding the 135 lbs. and 145 lbs. divisions to its roster, with Dominick Cruz (or Scott Jorgensen, pending the result of their 12/16 title fight) and Jose Aldo finally being recognized as the UFC Bantamweight and Featherweight World Champions.

Announcing the deal, Dana White said that “As the UFC continues to evolve and grow globally, we want to be able to give fans title fights in every weight division…This is a big day for the sport and the athletes who will have the opportunity to fight on the biggest stage in the world”. In this Dana White is completely correct, with the likes of Aldo and Cruz finally having the chance to feature on pay per view events rather than perform in front of smaller crowds and poorly viewed telecasts. Speaking to Ariel Helwani, White suggested that Jose Aldo’s UFC debut will come exceptionally soon with the 145Ibs kingpin likely to defend his title at UFC 125.

Dana White also confirmed that the winner of the December 16th WEC Lightweight Title fight between champion Ben Henderson and top contender Anthony Pettis will take on the winner of the UFC 125 main event title bout between World Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard. This upcoming fight will serve as a lightweight title unification bout to be held next year.

With there no longer being any WEC events to be broadcast on Versus, White also stated the UFC is expanding its presence on the VERSUS Network in 2011, and will increase its number of UFC events from two to four per year.  Versus will also air the two remaining live WEC events in 2010 on November 11th and December 16th. The November 11 event in Las Vegas will feature “The California Kid” Urijah Faber’s debut at bantamweight as he takes on Takeya Mizugaki, while the December 16 event in Glendale, Ariz. will feature Henderson-Pettis and a World Bantamweight Title clash between Dominick Cruz and challenger Scott Jorgensen with the winner becoming the new UFC Bantamweight Champion.

“We have a great relationship with the VERSUS network, and we look forward to working with them to give UFC fans even more free fights in 2011,” said White.

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