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Dana White on how UFC & WWE will, and won’t, work together post-merger

UFC 184: Rousey v Zingano Photo by Frazer Harrison/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

If all involved get their way, by the end of the year Endeavor will have acquired control of WWE from Vince McMahon, merged it with UFC, and spun them off as new, publicly-traded company.

Will that mean big changes for either the pro wrestling promotion we’ve all followed to various degrees for years? What about for mixed martial arts fans?

To this point, we’ve heard vague corporate speak about “synergies”, and seen all time great workers like Paul Heyman and Conor McGregor tease crossovers between WWE’s pre-determined world and UFC’s shoot fighting one.

But UFC President Dana White got a little more specific while speaking with the Associated Press this week:

“You have the power of the fanbase of the WWE. You have the power of the fanbase of the UFC... We can reach all these people in so many different ways. There’s just is a lot more resources now. WWE has a lot more resources — it’s a phone call away now. All they’ve gotta do is pick up the phone now and say, ‘Hey, how did this happen? I need this.’ Or, ‘I need this contact. How did you do this?’ And you all work together to make sure that everybody wins.”

One of the things White seems to hint at is using separate events to promote one another:

“We’ve been together on the same weekend many times. Come out of a UFC event, you have Monday Night Raw. Who knows? These are all things that can be figured out, on the business side.”

He’s not interested in any storyline crossover, however:

“The difference between the UFC and the WWE is — if you look at the WWE, they have an entertainment value, and they have these guys that are incredible athletes that go in there and do their thing. It’s well known that it’s scripted.

“When you look at the UFC, this is as real as it gets. That’s our tagline. You have these guys that are incredible athletes, that have to be well-rounded and well-versed in all these different aspects of martial arts. Then you have the entertainment side of it, too — but it’s real fighting. It’s real. There are no predetermined outcomes in the UFC. There won’t really be any type of crossover.”

The UFC boss was also on The Pat McAfee Show today (April 7). Asked about the deal, he said he met with “the McMahons” recently and vouched for Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel as a great partner who “let’s you run your business”, but who can use his extensive rolodex to “make anything happen” when asked. There he also said that the merger won’t effect UFC “at all.”

Dana sounds like MMA fans who don’t watch (or won’t admit they watch) pro wrestling, and he’s smart to do so. Any impression that UFC or its roster is starting to dabble in scripted fights will be bad for business in a number of ways. But while it may not count as “crossover”, his bosses at Endeavor will probably be looking to do more cross-promotion than simply mentioning Raw on during a UFC event the weekend before.

Everything at this point is speculation, though. Let’s wait and see what the combined UFC/WWE company is called before we start worrying about how Roman Reigns vs. Jon Jones is booked.

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