The idea of the WEC being used as a feeder system has been beaten to death and yet here i am about to invest time writing another post about it. I am going to propose a structure to in which will be the best use of the WEC as a feeder system. As we have seen in the UFC, Zuffa are known to give title shots as they please and many times leave fans and champions alike scratching thier heads wondering why such a fighter earned the shot. Its this type of thing that makes it necessary for the system to be clear cut thus giving the fighters a clear goal to reach.
The breakdown of the system i have thought up after the jump
First i will start with the ugly part, being sent to the minor leagues. For this it is pretty basic, three losses and the fight is sent down to minors. For a fighter who has recently lost his title it is four losses including the championship fight they lost. For example Lyoto Machida lost his title now in my system if he is to lose his next three fights he would be sent to the WEC. Now of course there is always the exceptions to the rules such as Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, and Matt Hughes. Some fighters are legends will not be demoted based on drawing power and also the fact they have had a long and successful career which in my opinion earns them a spot in the main show.
Now for the fun part, how a fighter gets promoted to the UFC. the fighter must first with 4 fights to earn a title shot. Once the fighter wins the title he must then defend said title three times then he is promoted to the big show. This type of system gives the WEC a meaning and a very important purpose. This system makes it so that gaining the belt and holding on to it is the only ticket into the UFC. Of course the champion has the choice to move to the WEC of stay and hang on to the title.
In this system a fighter has two courses to take when working out a contract. First a fighter could decide to hammer out two different dollar amounts, one for the WEC and one for the UFC. This of course could lead to another Ortiz type situation in which a fighter is unhappy with his pay which leads me to the second option. The second option is that once a fighter earns his way to the UFC the contract is left open so that a UFC deal can be struck. This option gives the fighter and the company a chance hammer out what the fighter is currently worth. For example and Jon Jones type fighter runs through the WEC division and has finished all his fights in spectacular fashion, the second option gives said fighter the ability to get a better price for his services. On the other side of the coin a fighter who is a Jon Fitch decision fighter would suffer from this type of deal. The UFC woud no doubt look to get a discount on this fighter so the other option would be his best bet.
Incentives Based on Proformance
This is where is gets fun. For a fighter to get into the UFC he must string together 8 straight wins. In my structure a fighter would get a percentage of bonuses added to his base pay. For example a fighter gets 2 knock out of the night bonuses, and 2 fight of the night bonuses. The total money amount of the bonuses total $100,000 and the fighter gets 30% of his bonuses tacked on to his show money. So if Brandon Vera was to earn his way back to the UFC and his base pay was $50,000 to show and $50,000, and he got an extra $30,000 added due to his performances in WEC that's a possible $130,000 per fight. The bonus will only include the 8 fights that earned said fight entry into the UFC and if the fighter turns down the chance to join the UFC then the bonus add on is gone.
Now this is just one way to use the WEC as a feeder system. There are a million more ways this can be done and i am not saying that what i have put forth is the fool proff way of doing things. One thing i have nailed is the fact that fighters need a visable goal to reach. It is counter productive to stick a fighter in the WEC and tell him that if he does well he will be brought back up. The open system of taking who they want when they want will just leave guys out in the cold much like the number one contender status in the UFC has done many times. I believe some of the things I have introduced are a pipe dream on my part because no matter what the UFC will structure contracts to favor the company. Reguardless of what they do I feel as system of rewarded proformance will be what is needed to make the WEC a successful feeder system.