With the official launch of TKO — the new Endeavor-owned corporation which includes both WWE & UFC — there was a fair amount of talk about crossover between the two combat sports entertainment brands.
UFC COO Lawrence Epstein went so far as to say TKO’s goal was make every UFC fan a WWE fan, and vice versa. That’s not an idea his boss, UFC CEO Dana White, is getting behind. Asked about Epstein’s statement at a press conference yesterday (Sept. 12), White replied:
“Lawrence, I love you. One of the dumbest statements of all-time. 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 — what’s beautiful about the synergy between these two fanbases is they are very — completely opposite. There’s very little crossover. And again, maybe he was misquoted — I hope that’s the case — because I could not disagree with him more.”
But Epstein’s new TKO colleague, WWE President Nick Khan, has his back on another synergistic idea the UFC exec floated: holding WWE and UFC events in the same weekend.
Khan doesn’t foresee those taking place in the same city the way Epstein did though, because Nick wants double the government subsidies! Here’s what he told Bill Simmons on The Ringer boss’ eponymous podcast:
“... what everyone envisions is can you set up an all-star TKO weekend where if SmackDown goes on Friday and the UFC goes on Saturday with a pay-per-view and WWE goes with a Premium Live Event on Sunday, can you do that from the same city? Certainly a lot of cost efficiencies there in terms of production. But a lot of revenue efficiencies in terms of upside we think there as well.”
Khan discussed how WWE’s long-time head of production Kevin Dunn and his UFC counterpart Craig Borsari have already been talking efficiencies, and how they two brands will work together to not compete on major weekends like WrestleMania. Then he went back to fleshing out the “All Star TKO Weekend” idea:
“Ideally, what we like, especially in my opinion if you look at the international expansion of WWE’s Premium Live Events, then you look at the UFC’s already expansion, even the show this past Saturday night from Australia, you could see a lot of events that, hey, WWE’s going at 3pm Eastern from an international location. UFC’s going at 8 or 9 Eastern domestically, or the opposite of that. We like that too because you have two gates, two separate merchandise. In theory, if you can get a government subsidy for the international show or a domestic show, you have subsidies and then boom, both events are right there. But planning it in advance, I don’t believe that we’ll trip over each other in any way.”
Are you one of those crossover fans Dana thinks are rare who’d be watching both “All Star TKO Weekend” shows?