On Monday, it became official that WWE has agreed to merge with UFC to form a new publicly traded company that will be controlled by Endeavor Group.
According to the details of the deal, Ari Emanuel will be the chief executive of both Endeavor and the new company while Vince McMahon will remain on as executive chairman. Current WWE CEO Nick Khan will become President of the WWE arm while Dana White will remain the President of the UFC arm.
There are plenty of questions that people will be asking the months ahead before the deal is finalized. Khan made the media rounds on Monday, sharing that the two entities will remain separate, though some talent crossover will occur. He also discussed the potential for a streaming media deal that incorporated both WWE and UFC in the coming years.
As it stands, WWE’s current linear TV rights deals with NBCUniversal and Fox Corp. expire next year and their streaming deal with NBCUniversal’s Peacock expires in 2026. Meanwhile, UFC’s media deal with ESPN, which gives ESPN+ the exclusive rights to all UFC pay-per-view matches, expires in 2025.
All of this means the timing could be right for the new company to package both promotions up into one massive media rights deal, or at least do so on the streaming side.
When asked about the possibility of a combined streaming deal Khan told Axios that “the good folks at NBCU have been tremendous partners to us. So let’s see what they have to say.”
The CEO added that it was important that the WWE’s current media partners are very aware of the situation and have the chance to make the first offer.
“The most important thing is that NBC and Fox, from a WWE point of view, feel respected in the process,” Khan said. “So we’re going to enter those conversations with them.
“[W]e’re going to see what that looks like and hopefully, it’s robust, and we don’t get out of the “right of first window,” and “we strike a deal with each of them. If we’re not able to do that, we’ll see what the marketplace has to say and ultimately choose the right partner for the WWE audience in our shareholders.”
Khan previously said that “We believe there’s plenty of money out there for us,” in terms of future media rights deals. Given the new arrangement with UFC, there’s probably even more out there for them now.