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White says WEC pay-per-view card will be a welcome change

The Canadian Press
4/20/2010 8:34:17 PM
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Conceding mixed martial arts has taken a hit recently as a result of some bad behaviour in the cage, UFC president Dana White says he has high hopes for the inaugural World Extreme Cagefighting pay-per-view card this weekend.

The UFC's last card, UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi on April 10, featured a main event that White called an embarrassment when middleweight champion Anderson Silva toyed with Demian Maia, refusing to engage for much of the fight.

And on Saturday, a televised CBS Strikeforce card in Nashville came in for criticism for a post-fight melee in the cage.

"Listen, it's been a bad couple of weeks for MMA. It really has," White told a media conference call Tuesday. "I'm one of these guys that always wants to get right back on the horse. I'm excited this fight's happening. We couldn't have a better fight following all this crap."

Saturday's WEC main event has Brazilian Jose Aldo making the first defence of his featherweight title against former champion Urijah (The California Kid) Faber. In the co-main event, lightweight champion Ben (Smooth) Henderson meets Donald (Cowboy) Cerrone.

"The place is going to be sold out, packed, great energy," White said of the Arco Arena in Sacramento, which is Faber's hometown. "Believe me, thank God this card is happening."

White, who contends rival promoter Strikeforce never should have been showcased on CBS, said the Nashville post-fight brawl was bad for the sport.

"These guys are going to go anyway so now we have to go out and fix. We've been working hard for 10 years -- we're not even (sanctioned) in New York right now, we're not in Toronto. We've got all these other countries we're trying to break into. The last thing we need is bad stuff happening in the sport.

"What I'm happy about, I know for a fact these guys are going to go up and perform on Saturday night. They always do, they always have."

White says he expects a sellout of some 15,000.

"I want to get this fight on as fast as possible and erase what's happened in the last two weeks. I can't wait."

The UFC owns the WEC, which focuses on lighter weight classes from lightweight (155 pounds) to featherweight (145) and bantamweight (135).

"These guys deserve to be on pay-per-view," White said.

The WEC usually is featured on TV, on Versus in the U.S. and The Score in Canada.

The UFC is throwing its weight behind the pay-per-view card, as witnessed by White taking point on Tuesday's conference call.

The regular WEC broadcast crew has been replaced for the night by the UFC's Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan, with UFC ring announcer Bruce Buffer also slated for action.

"We're the pay-per-view team," said White, saying the normal WEC broadcast crew will continue to do TV broadcasts.

NOTES -- White clarified comments he made in a recent interview about absorbing WEC lightweights into the UFC, saying there was no timetable for such a move. But he said it would make sense to do it in the future when the WEC adds more lighter weight classes.

Dana White (Photo: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)


(Photo: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
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