Dana White doesn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up for any wild UFC vs. WWE shenanigans.
The UFC president spoke to the Associated Press this week following the industry-shaking news that his fighting promotion is now under the same umbrella as the WWE — the world’s largest professional wrestling organization — after a deal was made by UFC parent company Endeavor to align the sports entertainment forces.
Endeavor announced the merger as being evaluated at $21.4 billion, an enormous financial investment that has fighters, fans, and media curious as to what this means for the promotions. White told the AP that there are still major differences between the UFC and the WWE that won’t change with this new partnership.
“The difference between the UFC and the WWE is you look at the WWE and they have an entertainment value and they have these guys that are incredible athletes that go in there and do their thing,” White said. “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, they 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 by any type of crossover.”
Aside from the historical roots shared by MMA and professional wrestling, the businesses share several promotional similarities and athletes from the WWE have successfully crossed over to the UFC and vice versa. UFC Hall of Famer Ken Shamrock was a standout in pro wrestling before becoming one of the UFC’s first stars, then he parlayed that notoriety into a successful run with the WWE.
WWE Superstar Brock Lesnar became UFC heavyweight champion during his time inside the octagon and former UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey is currently one of the biggest names on the WWE roster. And UFC stars like Conor McGregor, Colby Covington, and Michael Chandler have directly taken cues from the world of pro wrestling.
White isn’t so much concerned about the potential sharing of talent as he is about the sharing of resources.
“You have the power of the fan base of the WWE, you have the power of the fan base of the UFC, and you have the power of the viral—I don’t even know what the hell this thing is yet, the viral ability and whatever that fan base is going to be for Power Slap and we can reach all these people in so many different ways,” White said. “There’s just a lot more resources now.
“WWE has a lot more resources. It’s a phone call away now. All they’ve got to do is pick up the phone and say, ‘Hey, how did this happen? I need this’ or ‘I need this contact’ or ‘how did you do this?’ and you all work together to make sure that everybody wins.”