What Will Endeavor’s WWE-UFC Deal Mean for Fans?

As of Tuesday, WWE and Endeavor’s UFC have officially been merged into one company now known as TKO Group Holdings.

The change brings the premier names in sports entertainment and mixed martial arts under one roof for the first time. The question remains, however, what does this mean for fans of either or both promotions?

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I fall into the male 18-34 demographic, so naturally I am a fan of both the UFC and WWE. My love of pro wrestling started when my parents let us watch “Monday Night Raw” for the first time in early 1999, the same night Mick “Mankind” Foley won the world championship from The Rock thanks to an assist (and stiff chair shot) from “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.

Eight years later, I was flipping channels and came across the replay of a UFC fight, specifically Mirko Cro Cop vs. Gabriel Gonzaga. I was about to change channels, until Gonzaga dropped Cro Cop with a savage head kick in the closing seconds of the first round to win the fight. From then on, I was hooked.

On the one hand, I am excited for the possibilities of these two companies coming together. After all, they do have a lot in common. The UFC would not be what it is today had it not employed pro wrestling tactics to promote fights. Conor McGregor, one of the biggest global stars the UFC has ever had, borrowed heavily from the likes of Ric Flair and others to build up drama ahead of his bouts, for example.

So now the two companies will have real opportunities to share talent and cross promote like never before. You already have MMA stars like Ronda Rousey and Brock Lesnar in WWE, so this will open the door for others to smoothly transition from the octagon to the squared circle if they so choose. Likewise, WWE stars who are itching to prove themselves in the UFC might get a real chance.

Then there are the highly-lucrative media rights of both organizations. WWE’s linear deals with NBCUniversal and Fox are set to expire in 2024, while UFC’s deal with ESPN — which includes streaming — expires in 2025. WWE’s streaming deal with NBCUniversal’s Peacock is up in 2026. TKO has promised investors it will see significant gains in the next round of WWE dealmaking, thanks to the increased muscle of being part of a larger organization.

Now that they are operating as one entity, TKO could theoretically sell a bundled streaming product. That would be great for the company but maybe not so much for the fans. After all, does a UFC fan who doesn’t watch wrestling or vice versa want to pay for another streamer?

The combination also brings an end to the reign of the McMahon family at WWE. A McMahon has been in charge of WWE (previously known as WWF, WWWF, and Capitol Wrestling Corporation) going back to the 1950s. But now, Vince McMahon will serve as executive chairman of TKO with 16.4% of the voting power. While still significant, that is a far cry from the 80% voting power he enjoyed at the head of WWE.

McMahon is a controversial figure to be sure, but there was something endearing about the fact that WWE could truly call itself a family-run business for all these years. After all, Vince’s wife, Linda McMahon, daughter Stephanie, son Shane, and son-in-law Paul “Triple H” Levesque have all held executive and onscreen roles within WWE over the years. Levesque at present is in charge of the company’s creative.

From the fans’ perspective, the No. 1 burning question coming out of today’s news is whether Endeavor will try to make their mark on their new acquisition by making changes to the product or presentation of either UFC or WWE content? The “too many cooks in the kitchen” scenario rarely bodes well. Fans will be watching closely to see who emerges as the new stars of these now concentric rings.

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