Jake Rossen argues that it's irrelevant:
There are purists who would argue that the WEC provides an invaluable service: By highlighting the talents of smaller fighters, gifted athletes can be acknowledged regardless of lat width. And there are few complaints against fight footage with no surcharge.
Others see the promotion as an extraneous appendage to Zuffa’s primary body of Ultimate Fighting, a vanity project that languishes well into the upper tier of cable lineups and forces those same great athletes to fight for insulting purses. There’s no business model for the WEC in place to pay Faber -- or his conqueror, Mike Thomas Brown -- on the level of any of the UFC champions, the least profitable of which still commands a six-figure base salary.
If the UFC devours it, the benefits for talent are obvious: 135- and 145-pound fighters can benefit from the UFC’s lucrative bonus system and pay scale. Their marketability from Spike appearances will boost sponsorship dollars. Some, like Faber and Torres, could conceivably see a pay-per-view percentage take, which would be nominal even if they draw flies. (The UFC brand is good for a minimum amount of business, regardless of the card.) And the lighter weights would clearly help boost Spike’s aging "Ultimate Fighter," now planning an 11th season and incapable of milking Kimbo Slice indefinitely. With this season’s batch of sluggish heavyweights, the action of 16 determined featherweights would be an adrenaline shot.
The argument for the current structure: With some fighters making as little as $2,000 a bout, they’re probably poor enough to qualify for Medicaid.
The WEC has its own independent agenda. Plans for a pay-per-view, floated for years, might finally transpire in 2010; the show is scheduling monthly events from now until next summer; and Versus, which is unlikely to remain off of DirecTV forever, is plotting a reality series of its own.
With increasing buzz (some coming from Zuffa-friendly writers like Kevin Iole) for the idea that the WEC should merge with the UFC and cryptic comments from Dana White, I had begun to hope that the right thing would be done here very soon. And by "the right thing" I mean that the UFC would absorb the WEC's top talent in the 135 and 145lb classes and use the Versus deal and the WEC name as a place for fighters who can't quite make the grade in the UFC.
Make the WEC a true minor league in all the weight classes and let the best feather and bantamweights in the world make the money they deserve in the UFC. This would also give the UFC more title fights to use as co-main events.
But alas from Urijah Faber's recent comments it looks like the WEC is going to continue to struggle along on its own and will be making a foray into PPV. Recipe for disaster if you ask me.