The UFC & WWE Are Merging To Create A $31 Billion Combat Sports Empire

Fake wresting meets real wrestling.

The UFC & WWE Are Merging To Create A $31 Billion Combat Sports Empire

Image: Romer Macapuno/DMARGE

In what’s sure to rank as one of the biggest deals in sports history, the world’s largest mixed martial arts promotion and the world’s largest professional wrestling promotion are joining forces to create one mega entertainment company.

Professional wrestling and mixed martial arts, on the face of it, have little in common. The former is a highly scripted form of sports entertainment, with strict storylines and choreographed matches. The latter is one of the purest expressions of combat sports, with very real wrestling and very real stakes. One’s got a ring and one’s got an octagon.

But that hasn’t stopped the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), each sport’s biggest promotions respectively, from deciding to merge in a deal that’s worth a reported US$21 billion (~AU$31 billion).

Endeavor Group Holdings, which owns the UFC, will take a 51% stake in WWE to form a new public company, with WWE majority owner and executive chairman Vince McMahon to serve as an executive chairman of the new entity and UFC President Dana White retaining his position.

More belts are a good thing, right? Image: UFC

The combined company, which will be traded publicly under the TKO symbol (what a great ticker) will take on a new name (which has yet to be confirmed), McMahon says. He added:

“Together, we will be a $21+ billion live sports and entertainment powerhouse with a collective fanbase of more than a billion people.”

Vince McMahon

McMahon, who had voluntarily stepped down as chairman and CEO of WWE in 2022 pending an internal investigation about an alleged affair he had with an employee, reportedly considered a sale to ESPN and Amazon before the merger, ABC News reports.

White has also been ebullient about the merge, saying in a statement that “[UFC] 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.”

Fans have had mixed reactions to news of this merge. UFC fans in particular have expressed concern that they don’t want the UFC to become scripted like the WWE… Although many have also been excited by the prospect of Conor McGregor and John Cena (or Hornswoggle and Hasbulla) fighting each other.

That said, crossover events between the two promotions aren’t something that’s likely to be on the cards. They’ll still operate as two distinct companies – although one can dream…