WWE and UFC have successfully completed a merger that would now bring the two franchises under a new entity named TKO. The merger, valued at almost $20 billion, is one of the biggest in sporting history.
Endeavour Group Holdings, the owners of UFC, hold a controlling 51% stake in the newly formed public trading company, TKO Group Holdings, while WWE shareholders possess the remaining 49%. Ari Emanuel, the CEO of Endeavour, is leading the new venture.
Ari Emanuel expressed his enthusiasm for the merger, stating, “The creation of TKO marks an exciting new chapter for UFC and WWE as leaders in global sports and entertainment. With UFC and WWE under one roof, we will provide unrivaled experiences for more than a billion passionate fans worldwide.”
WWE boasts a global reach and a massive fanbase, with more than 16 billion social media video views in the final quarter of 2022. The company has nearly 200 million followers across all social media platforms, with viewers in over 180 countries of the world.
Dana White has assumed the role of UFC’s new CEO, and Vince McMahon has been appointed as the executive chairman of TKO.
In an official statement announcing the merger’s completion, TKO highlighted its ambitions, stating, “TKO brings together UFC, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, and WWE, an integrated media organization and the recognized global leader in sports entertainment, to create a new premium sports and entertainment company serving more than one billion young and diverse fans, reaching viewers in 180 countries, and producing more than 350 annual live events.”
Vince McMahon, who returned to the WWE board in January after retiring in 2022 amid misconduct allegations, added, “Given our collaborative, trusted relationship and Endeavor’s incredible track record of success growing UFC, we believe WWE is optimally positioned for future growth and success as part of TKO. Our focus remains on delivering for our fans across the globe as we take the business to the next level alongside UFC and Endeavor.”
For now, there are not enough details on how this merger would affect the operations of each franchise under it or what their long-term plans, if any, are. But we can expect more details in the coming days as the future of the two franchises seem exciting.