Somehow this got swept under the radar, but it's worth a look. Notable quote:
Boxing has been the sport of choice for Mexican fans, but World Extreme Cagefighting is banking on the excitement, intensity and popularity of mixed martial arts to win over Latin fight fans.
The WEC is home to many Mexican fighters such as WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Angel Torres, Manny Tapia, Leonard Garcia and Blas Avena. The WEC is going after the Mexican market in a huge way, announcing a deal with Cadena Tres to become the network television home for the WEC in Mexico.
The deal with Cadena Tres starts with Sunday’s broadcast of WEC 35, which features three titles fights, and runs through 2009.
“This partnership between Cadena Tres and the WEC is a groundbreaking event for Mexican television,” said Erik Zuckermann, director of programming and new content for Cadena Tres. “We are the first free TV network to bring the Mexican audience this kind of contact sport in primetime. The WEC live events represent the perfect choice for Cadena Tres, which, being the newest option on Mexican free TV, continually bets on content that represents a unique and fresh option for our viewers. We are certain the WEC will represent one of the biggest hits on TV and Cadena Tres will be the channel to watch every week.”
I personally believe it will be a long struggle to get significant portions of the Latin audience to either watch MMA and boxing or watch MMA in favor of boxing. There are a host of reasons, but suffice it say the cultural inroads boxing has in the Mexican community run very deep. Still, though, this is a promising and noteworthy development. Kudos to the WEC for pulling it off.