Following the announcement of the UFC’s merger with WWE parent company, Endeavor, UFC President Dana White told the Associated Press this week that there won’t be any crossover between the real fighting of UFC and the scripted entertainment of WWE.
While the deal is reportedly worth $21.4 billion, White stressed that there are still significant differences between the two organisations. Explaining that WWE has an entertainment value and that it’s well-known as scripted, he emphasised that UFC fighting is “real” and has “no predetermined outcomes.”
Although both MMA and professional wrestling have historical roots, and there have been successful cross-overs, such as UFC Hall of Famer Ken Shamrock and WWE superstar Brock Lesnar, White said the merger is really about sharing of resources rather than talent: “There’s just a lot more resource now. WWE has a lot more resource. It’s a phone call away now.”
With the merging of the world’s largest professional wrestling company with one of the world’s biggest fighting promotions, there’s undoubtedly a lot of interest in what it will mean for the future of both.
However, as White has made clear, it’s not about creating some kind of special event, melding the two styles of entertainment, but rather it’s about creating a more successful corporate structure from which both companies can benefit. By sharing contacts and promotional methods, both companies stand to gain from the merger, and any crossover of talent is likely to be incidental.