Ari Emanuel: Dana White Remains in Control of UFC, Vince McMahon at WWE — and Together ‘That’s Pretty Unstoppable’

ari emanuel dana white remains control ufc vince mcmahon at wwe together thats pretty unstoppable

With the UFC and WWE joining forces under one ownership group at Endeavor, which was announced Monday, a new sports and entertainment powerhouse has been created. There are plans to make the UFC-WWE conglomerate a publicly traded company in the next four to six months.

The combined assets are said to be worth more than $21 billion. Under the new power structure, Vince McMahon will be the executive chairman and Ari Emanuel will be the CEO of the company made up of UFC and WWE.

Dana White will stay in charge of the UFC, and Nick Khan will be in charge of the WWE. Even though both companies will hopefully benefit from working together, Emanuel promises that each will be able to run its own day-to-day business and have creative control over its own brand.


He also says that any disagreements will be dealt with by each company itself. “This is what we said, and I told [Vince] this: if we have different ideas about what we want to do, guess what?

Emanuel told CNBC on Monday, “We’re not going to do it.” “It’s because of how I feel about Silver Lake. It’s because of how I feel about Dana. When it comes to the UFC, Dana has the final say, and when it comes to the WWE, Vince does.

He will have the final say. The creative process has nothing to do with us. That’s Vince’s situation, and that’s also Dana’s. “We’re going to try to do what we do with all the back stuff. I think that’s what he wants, but if we don’t agree, we’re still friends.

We’ll figure it out, and that’s that.” When it comes to the day-to-day operations of the UFC, Emanuel hasn’t done much. White still makes all the important decisions about talent, production, and any other major issues that come up.

McMahon will keep the same level of control at WWE, but he said he won’t get as “in the weeds” creatively with the product as he has in the past.

Emanuel said he couldn’t think of a better situation, especially since he had worked with White for most of the seven years since he bought the UFC for just over $4 billion.

As part of figuring out how the two companies will work together, Endeavor now puts the UFC’s worth at a whopping $12.1 billion. Emanuel said, “I’m the luckiest person in the world.”


“Because I have Vince McMahon, who is a visionary who can see what is coming. I have Dana White and what we’ve made together. That’s pretty hard to stop. “The two of us together are like rarefied air.

I think the analysts will see that it is good for both WWE shareholders and Endeavor shareholders. Since the beginning, McMahon’s family has owned WWE, and this will be the first time since 1982 that he isn’t the person who makes the most important decisions at the company.

Even though it might seem hard to give up that much power, McMahon says he was happy to make this deal with Endeavor, especially after seeing what Emanuel and his team have done with the UFC over the past seven years.

“It’s a wonderful day. “It was one of the best days of my life,” said McMahon. “Now is a good time. It’s time to do what needs to be done. It’s the next step in WWE’s growth. I think I could do what Ari is doing with UFC, but it would take me about 10 years.

“By the time I caught up, he would be 10 years ahead again. For all of these synergies, it makes perfect sense that we should get as much value as we can out of the market.

Emanuel also said that he had been thinking about a partnership like this for a long time. He has worked with McMahon and WWE for the past 23 years, and Endeavor (which used to be called William Morris Agency and then William Morris Endeavor) is the talent agency for the professional wrestling company.

“I’ve always thought about this combination, especially with the Endeavor flywheel and what we could add to it and what it could become, and putting it into a new company as a pure play. Emanuel said, “There’s nothing else like it.”

“[Vince] has value, which I don’t think WWE is getting at the moment. I don’t think the UFC was a good deal. I think the market will understand it, and I also think that the Endeavor shareholders will see Endeavor and the remaining assets in a different way.

Endeavor is likely to get a huge return on its investment in the next two years when both UFC and WWE sign new media rights deals. UFC only works with ESPN right now, while WWE has deals with FOX, Comcast (NBC/Universal), and Peacock streaming, which is also owned by Comcast, for the WWE Network.

It’s too early to say how much UFC and WWE might be able to use their positions together to get better broadcast deals, but it’s hard to ignore now that both companies are owned by the same person.


“WWE’s contracts with Comcast and Fox will end at the end of ’24. “We have a deal with The Walt Disney Company that ends at the end of 25 for UFC,” Mark Shapiro, president of Endeavor, told The Hollywood Reporter.

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“Now, keep in mind that if we wanted to, there was nothing stopping us from going early with those incumbents. And at the same time, we keep the option to go with the best buyer, best platform, and highest price somewhere in the next couple of years.”

McMahon knows this, too, because he smiled a lot when talking about those media rights deals. Both UFC and WWE have a strong hold on the market, especially since most of their fans are between the ages of 18 and 49, which is a very desirable age range.

“The two companies together are like nothing else,” McMahon said. “It’s real. That’s important. Our events are live. People want to see it in real-time.

That’s one reason why we’ve been successful and will continue to be successful and why we can work in every medium. We can fit in any place. We fit everywhere in terms of social media and everything else.”