Following on the heels of its parent UFC organization, World Extreme Cagefighting is coming to Canada.
The WEC will make its mixed martial arts debut north of the border June 20 at Rexall Place in Edmonton.
"They're eager for the WEC to get in there," WEC vice-president Peter Dropick said of Edmonton. "We've had good feedback from that market. Good ratings, good TV ratings and good pay-per-view buys from the UFC standpoint. . . . It's one of the hotter markets."
The Edmonton card should have a good platform.
It comes eight days after UFC 115 in Vancouver. And it will follow the WEC's highest-profile card to date -- the organization's first pay-per-view April 24. That card pits featherweight champion Jose Aldo against former title-holder Urijah (The California Kid) Faber in Faber's home town of Sacramento. Also featured is lightweight champion Ben (Smooth) Henderson, who takes on Donald (The Cowboy) Cerrone.
Dropick says he expects three or four Canadian fighters on the Edmonton card. Canadians on the WEC roster include featherweights Mark (The Machine) Hominick of Thamesford, Ont., and Yves Jabouin of Montreal, and lightweight Chris (The Polish Hammer) Horodecki of London, Ont.
"The April show is stacked but we've got a deep, deep roster. We'll put on a strong card," said Dropick.
The WEC looked at Calgary as a possible venue but Dropick said arena availability was the deciding issue.
"Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta as a whole is a really good market for us. And Canada, along with Quebec and Ontario," Dropick told The Canadian Press from Las Vegas on Saturday.
"It really came down to availability of dates and venues."
The plan will be to sell tickets to the lower bowl, with the top level curtained off depending on sales. The lower bowl has a capacity of 8,000 to 9,000.
Tickets will go on sale next Saturday, with a pre-sale starting Thursday for members of the UFC Fight Club or WEC newsletter subscribers.
The show will be broadcast by The Score in Canada and Versus in the U.S.
Owned by the UFC, the WEC concentrates on lower weight classes with competition in the bantamweight (135 pound), featherweight (145) and lightweight (155) divisions.