White dumps on plan to convert UFC fans to WWE marks after TKO merger

Nothing will fundamentally change.

That’s the message Dana White had when speaking to the media following the UFC’s big merger with WWE to form a stock-traded entity called TKO. The public company is owned by parent company Endeavor, with WWE controlling 49% of the business and Endeavor taking the majority 51% stake. Former WWE head honcho Vince McMahon is now the executive chairman of TKO, while White has been upgraded from UFC president to UFC CEO.

When news of the merger first hit months ago, it sounded like Endeavor head Ari Emanuel was mainly looking to combine the backroom abilities of UFC / WWE staff and suite to maximize profitability. Not a cockamamie plot to start a series of insane crossovers between UFC fighters and WWE superstars on broadcast television.

A few comments from execs on the day TKO became listed on the stock exchange spooked some fans though. UFC COO Lawrence Epstein suggested they’d be pushing to make every UFC fan a WWE fan and every WWE fan a UFC fan.

Not gonna happen, the UFC CEO said.

“Lawrence, I love you, [but that’s] one of the dumbest statements of all time,” White said after laughing and shaking his head. “Yeah, I don’t know why he said that. I don’t even know what to say to that. No.”

“There’s no – there’s some crossover. Some people like WWE, some people like UFC, some people like both. I don’t think there’s ever gonna be a day where we turn every UFC fan into a WWE fan or every WWE fan into a UFC fan. What’s beautiful about the synergy between these two fan bases is that they’re very completely opposite. There’s very little crossover.”

“Maybe he was misquoted,” White added. “I hope that was the case. Because I could not disagree more.”

That’s a relief for anyone who was worried this merger would mean more WWE marketing being shoved down UFC fans’ throats. We call that ‘the Power Slap approach,’ and we are not fans (of the approach or Power Slap).

We’d say any smart executive should fundamentally understand why the UFC needs to keep the WWE product firewalled away from the actual athletic competition. But executives have been showing their whole ass so regularly these days that we’re starting to wonder if the C-suite leaders of America have eaten a few too many paint chips in their youth.

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