Could Bellator take over the WEC as the #1 promotion for under-155lb. fighters?
I think Bellator has a very good model for becoming a successful promotion. I don't think they'll ever surpass the UFC, but I think they pose a big threat to the WEC. Compare the money earned by the current 145 lb. champions, Jose Aldo and Joe Soto:
In Soto's first 3 Bellator fights (all wins) he earned $25,000, $50,000, and $100,000 for a total of $175,000.
In Aldo's first 3 WEC fights (all wins) he earned $6,000, $8,000, $10,000 and a $7,500 KO of the Night bonus for a total of $31,500.
Even the fighters who lost in the first round of the Bellator tournament got $10,000, which is what Aldo earned after his 3rd win in the WEC.
The payouts are down for season 2 of Bellator, but they're still pretty good. $10,000 to show/$10,000 to win in the quarterfinals, $15,000/$15,000 in the semis, and $20,000/$30,000 for the finals, a total of $100,000 for the winner. Plus the season 2 winner gets a shot at the season 1 champ, so that will be another decent sized check.
If I was an up and coming 135 or 145 lb. fighter, why would I sign with the WEC if Bellator was interested? I'm pretty sure Fox Sports Net is in more homes than Versus, plus Bellator lets its fighters compete in other promotions. The only advantage that the WEC could have is if they take off on PPV, but I just don't see that happening.