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World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) is an American mixed martial arts promotion. It is the sister promotion to the Ultimate Fighting Championship , both owned and produced by Zuffa, with a focus on the lighter weight classes (155, 145, 135, and 125 lb). The WEC uses the same rules as its older and much larger sibling, and holds its matches in a smaller octagonal cage.

History

The organization was started in 2001,by Scott Adams and Reed Harris. Between 2001 and 2006, most of their events were held in Lemoore, California and aired on HDNet.

In December 2006, Zuffa purchased the WEC. With the purchase, the WEC continues as a separate promotion with its own roster of fighters. Adams has been retained after the purchase as the organization's matchmaker. Harris and Adams were named co-General Managers and are both active in the new WEC.

Zuffa made several changes to the promotion after the purchase. It discontinued its pentagonal cage for a modified version of the UFC's octagonal cage. The championships of fighters who were contracted UFC fighters were vacated. The promotion moved to focus on lighter weight classes, abandoning their heavyweight and super heavyweight divisions and championships, and retaining their bantamweight and featherweight divisions—two divisions not currently present in the UFC. Since the purchase, several of the WEC events have been held in Zuffa's hometown of Las Vegas, Nevadamarker, much like the UFC.

The WEC currently airs their events live on Versus, formerly known as the Outdoor Life Network and on The Sports Network in Canada. WEC's first live event was broadcast on June 3, 2007 on Versus from The Jointmarker at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casinomarker in Las Vegas.

The WEC announced that it will dissolve their light heavyweight and middleweight divisions after their December 3, 2008 event to further their concentration on lighter classes. Fighters from the light heavyweight and middleweight divisions will start fighting in the UFC after the dissolution of their divisions. Also, on February 3, 2009, the WEC officially announced the creation of a 125 lb. Flyweight Division to start in 2010 and the dissolution of its welterweight division (Flyweight is the last division under the "Unified Rules of MMA" remaining, excluding Super Heavyweight, to be activated under ZUFFA). Fighters from the welterweight division will start fighting in the UFC after the dissolution of their division. The only weight class remaining to cross-over between the WEC & the UFC is the 155 lb Lightweight division.

UFC President Dana White recently announced his intentions of bringing the WEC to Pay Per View in 2009. No WEC fights were on PPV in 2009, however, there is still intent to do this at some point in the future.

Current champions

Division Upper weight limit Champion Since Title Defenses
Lightweight Jamie Varner February 13, 2008 (WEC 32) 2
Ben Henderson (Interim) October 10, 2009 (WEC 43) 0
Featherweight Jose Aldo November 18, 2009 (WEC 44) 0
Bantamweight Brian Bowles August 9, 2009 (WEC 42) 0


See also



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