It’s time! – UFC & WWE merger about to begin

Things are about to start moving and shaking with the upcoming WWE & UFC merger.

By: Zane Simon | 2 weeks ago
It’s time! – UFC & WWE merger about to begin
UFC president Dana White and Ari Emanuel chat at UFC 213. Kyle Terada IMAGO/USA Today

With the UFC lawsuit getting class certification, PFL in talks to buy Bellator, and Francis Ngannou getting a mega-fight with Tyson Fury fans could be forgiven for forgetting about one of the biggest stories in combat sports over the last year. Just this past spring, Hollywood entertainment giants Endeavor purchased a majority stake in the world’s largest pro-wrestling sports-entertainment business, the WWE.

With the WWE valued at more than $9 billion, the move has given Endeavor serious market dominance in two of the world’s largest sports-event companies—with future plans to merge the UFC & WWE into one publicly traded organization. Well, the future is now.

WWE & UFC merger to start September 12th

Deadline reports that, following their purchase of the WWE back in April, Endeavor plans to move ahead with their stated goal of rolling their two sports-entertainment brands into one, starting this coming Tuesday, September 12th. Despite the merger and new TKO branding, expectations are that we’ll continue to see the WWE and UFC continue as separately run organizations, with Dana White retaining his role as UFC president and Ari Emanuel acting as CEO of TKO.

The merger also, initially, included plans to see Vince McMahon retain his position as chairman of the WWE, but his status is currently a little more murky. Back in July, McMahon was subject to a search warrant by federal agents, as part of an ongoing probe into allegations of funds misappropriation. McMahon has been accused of paying as much as $20 million to settle claims of sexual misconduct stretching back multiple years from multiple women.

“In 2022, WWE formed a special committee to review allegations of misconduct against me,” McMahon said in a statement in early August. “That review was concluded in November 2022 following an extensive investigation. Throughout this experience, I have always denied any intentional wrongdoing and continue to do so. I am confident that the government’s investigation will be resolved without any findings of wrongdoing. I am focused on completing the recovery process from my recent spinal surgery and on closing our transaction with Endeavor, which will create one of the preeminent global sports and entertainment brands.”

McMahon has been on indefinite medical leave following back surgery that took place in July. While the WWE has released statements to the effect that he will remain in his position as chairman of the promotion upon his return, the ongoing nature of the investigation has left his position in this merger unclear.

“This company has been on fire for the last seven years and now that we will be adding WWE to the portfolio, I am excited to take this to another level,” UFC president Dana White said of the merger back in April. “Vince is a savage in the wrestling space, Ari is a beast at what he does, and then add what we at UFC bring to the table and there is no limit to what this company can accomplish in the next few years.”

While it’s unclear what kind of crossover branding might result from the WWE & UFC running side by side under the TKO banner, for now it seems most likely that fans will continue to see both promotions running their business as usual.

UFC business a boon amid writer’s strike

With Endeavor’s WWE/UFC business deal coming to a close, it’s worth noting that the UFC has been a major boon to the company since it’s purchase, for $4 billion back in 2016. Most recently, Endeavor saw a net income of $666.5 million (Q2 2023). And while the Hollywood Reporter suggests that the company is likely to see some serious damage in Q3 due to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA writers striker, their ‘unscripted content’ business has been a major strength.

Speaking to the Reporter, Ari Emanuel pinned much of the companies recent revenue gains on “the delivery of projects in Endeavor’s nonscripted content production business,” with a note that their ‘owned sports division’ saw a 2.5 percent revenue increase from 2022.

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About the author
Zane Simon
Zane Simon

Zane Simon is a senior editor, writer, and podcaster for Bloody Elbow. He has worked with the website since 2013, taking on a wide variety of roles. A lifelong combat sports fan, Zane has trained off & on in both boxing and Muay Thai. He currently hosts the long-running MMA Vivisection podcast, which he took over from Nate Wilcox & Dallas Winston in 2015, as well as the 6th Round podcast, started in 2014. Zane is also responsible for developing and maintaining the ‘List of current UFC fighters’ on Bloody Elbow, a resource he originally developed for Wikipedia in 2010.

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