WWE CEO Nick Khan Talks WWE/UFC Merger

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has merged with the UFC to form a new publicly traded sports and entertainment company controlled by Endeavor Group, the companies announced Monday.

Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel is the chief executive of the new company, while Vince McMahon assumes the role of executive chairman.

WWE CEO Nick Khan and Dana White will serve as presidents of WWE and UFC, respectively.

Nick Khan spoke to OutKick to discuss the deal: what it means, how it came about, what to expect, and more:

Bobby Burack: Nick, why did WWE sell to Endeavor and now?

Nick Khan: Vince and I had many conversations about adding the things that Endeavor adds. That Endeavor offers our company.

Could we do them on our own? Maybe. But it would take 10 years.

But in 10 years, Vince would be 87. And Endeavor would have 10 years more experience if we sold now.

The cards lined up now. This moment.

It was a fulsome process with multiple offers, multiple suitors. But we got the right offer, at the right time, with the right partner.

Burack: What are those things Endeavor can add that would otherwise take years?

Khan: Performance centers. International media rights.

Sales and sponsorship. Government subsidies or site fees for our bigger events.

We think we can get into that immediately.

Burack: How did the deal come about? When do you realize Endeavor would be the buyer?

Khan: Again, fulsome process. We had multiple bidders. Strong bidders.

But, ultimately, Endeavor made the best overall bid for the two things we were looking for: growth of the company and to do right by our shareholders.

We think we hit those. Let's see.

Burack: Endeavor will form new sports and entertainment around the WWE and UFC. What type of crossover will there be between WWE and UFC?

Khan: You saw Brock Lesnar go from WWE to UFC, where he become its heavyweight champion, then come back to WWE. You saw Ronda Rousey and her amazing run with the UFC come over to WWE. Daniel Cormier was a special guest referee for us in our October premium live event this past year.

Opportunities like that will continue.

That said, both businesses are going to be run separately. Dana White will, of course, continue to run the UFC.

We have deep relationships with the guys over there, from Dana to Craig Borsari to Lawrence Epstein. We will be looking to collaborate with them when appropriate.

Burack: The new brand puts WWE and UFC together, combining wrestling and MMA. That leaves boxing, the third of the Big 3 in combat sports.

Will you look to add boxing, a sport to which you have ties, to the brand at some point?

Khan: Right now, we want to focus on getting WWE integrated and situated with the company. We have our U.S, media rights in October of '24, as I'm sure you know, Bobby.

The hyper-focus is going to be on the employee base and continuing to generate revenue. But, in a year or so, once everything settles in, we'll take a look at every opportunity out there.

Burack: What can the fans of WWE, from a product standpoint, expect from the sale?

Khan: They can expect bigger and better.

If you liked what you saw this past Saturday and Sunday, which by the way, was our highest-viewed WWE event of all-time -- domestically and internationally.

It was our highest sales and sponsorship, highest ticket revenue, and highest merchandise sales again for any WWE event ever.

We like where it's at. But we love where it's heading.

Burack: We began this conversation discussing a 10-year plan. 10 years is challenging to predict. Let's say 5.

Where is WWE in 5 years?

Khan: We think we have an untapped, scripted and unscripted, opportunity in the intellectual property space.

Characters like The Undertaker and Andre the Giant.

I'm not sure that every comic book fan was familiar with Black Panther. But certainly, every movie fan is now.

We want that for our characters.

So, if we do it with the right partners, and in the right spirit, we think that we have something that is largely untapped.

Burack: Any final comments to the readers?

Khan: I just want to know what airline Clay flies you out of. To make sure it's the best one.

Burack: We are good there.

Written by
Bobby Burack is a writer for OutKick where he reports and analyzes the latest topics in media, culture, sports, and politics.. Burack has become a prominent voice in media and has been featured on several shows across OutKick and industry related podcasts and radio stations.