NEW YORK, N.Y. (December 16, 2009)-VERSUS, the cable television home of World Extreme Cagefighting® (WEC®), today announced a multi-year extension with Zuffa LLC., the owners of both the WEC and UFC®. As part of VERSUS’ renewal deal, the network will air seven live WEC fights and two live UFC events in 2010, marking the first time that live UFC events will air on a national sports cable network.
“Since 2007 fight fans have come to VERSUS for some of the best mixed martial arts action available on television. WEC on VERSUS has been a tremendous catalyst for network growth and solidified our position as a top destination in the MMA category,” said Marc Fein, Executive Vice President of Programming, Production and Business Operations for VERSUS. “Continuing our thriving partnership with Zuffa and the addition of two UFC fights to our lineup will, without a doubt, propel VERSUS to the next level in live MMA offerings.”
Live WEC fights on VERSUS in 2009 have been watched by more than six million viewers so far, up 18 percent over 2008. In fact, three of the five most-watched fights in network history all took place this year. One of the network’s most notable fights of 2009 was on June 7 and featured the most-anticipated featherweight re-match in MMA history between former featherweight title holder Urijah Faber and Mike Brown. The fight lived up to the hype and made VERSUS the top-rated cable network in the country among all the key male demos.
“We have had great success with VERSUS and are excited about extending our deal for WEC and airing UFC events in 2010,” said Dana White, UFC President.
In addition to the live WEC and UFC fights, the renewal agreement also gives VERSUS.com the ability to stream exclusive content, including one non-televised fight and behind-the-scenes footage from each live WEC event. The site will continue to feature in-depth news and information about what is happening on the MMA scene through blog features and one-on-one video interviews with major WEC and UFC personalities.
VERSUS will also continue to produce and air new episodes of WEC WrekCAGE, a series featuring an explosive mix of VERSUS’ best live events and the top matches from WEC events never before seen on television as well as additional WEC programming such as Best-of-Year and Greatest Knockouts specials.
VERSUS’ final WEC fight of 2009 will take place on Saturday, December 19, when lightweight title contender Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone takes on Ed Ratcliff and Muay Thai sensation Anthony Njokuani battles former IFL star Chris Horodecki. The fight will air live on VERSUS at 10 p.m. ET and will originate from The Pearl at The Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.
The network’s first live WEC fight in 2010 is scheduled for Sunday, January 10, at 9 p.m. ET and will feature the long-awaited lightweight title unification bout between reigning champion Jamie Varner and interim champion Ben Henderson at ARCO Arena in Sacramento, Calif. In addition to the main event championship bout, former featherweight champion “The California Kid” Urijah Faber makes his hometown return to face Raphael Assuncao, a top-ranked contender in the weight-class.
The WEC brand is recognized as one of the premier mixed martial arts organizations in the United States. WEC, founded in 2001, is the sister organization of the Ultimate Fighting Championship® and today features the most prominent light weight fighters in the world. Owned and operated by WEC Holdings LLC., and headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., the WEC produces live and taped events annually that are distributed through the Versus network.WEC programming is also available on Fox Sports en Espanol. In addition to its U.S distribution, WEC programming is shown on the TSN network in Canada, Setanta Sports in Australia, Globosat in Brazil, and Cadena Tres in Mexico. For more information and current WEC fight news, visit wec.tv <http://www.wec.tv/> . World Extreme Cagefighting® and WEC® are registered trademarks, trademarks, trade dress or service marks owned exclusively by WEC Holdings, LLC in the United States and other jurisdictions and are licensed to WEC Productions, LLC.
VERSUS celebrates real competition across all platforms (VERSUS.com, VERSUS on Demand and VERSUS HD) and is the national cable home of the National Hockey League (NHL), the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the IZOD IndyCar® Series as well as best-in-class events such as The Tour de France, the Professional Bull Riders (PBR), World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and Professional Boxing. The network also offers collegiate sports featuring nationally-ranked teams from top conferences such as the Pac-10, Big 12, Mountain West and Ivy League. VERSUS features the best field sports programming on television and is a destination for sports fans, athletes and sportsmen to find exclusive, competitive events and original programs, such as Sports Soup and Sports Jobs with Junior Seau that audiences can’t find elsewhere. VERSUS, a wholly owned company of Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA, CMCSK), is distributed via cable systems and satellite operators throughout the United States.