The recent merger between WWE and UFC has sent ripples across the combat sports landscape, signaling the likelihood of major financial deals and collaborations. A significant outcome of this convergence is the confirmation of Saudi Arabia as the host for an upcoming UFC Fight Night event in March 2024, potentially indicative of the substantial benefits resulting from this union.
Undoubtedly, WWE’s Chairman of the Board, Vince McMahon, appears to have played a pivotal role in securing the high-profile event for Saudi Arabia. Following the establishment of TKO under Endeavor’s publicly traded entity, McMahon assumed the role of Executive Chairman of TKO, thereby actively engaging with UFC’s day-to-day operations. UFC CEO Dana White corroborated McMahon’s influential participation, emphasizing his significant contributions to the UFC brand.
Insights from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter suggest that McMahon’s established relationship with the Saudi government may have significantly facilitated the lucrative deal for the UFC, echoing WWE’s ongoing successful collaboration with the Middle Eastern nation. Sources within WWE further indicated McMahon’s involvement in securing the UFC deal, underlining the extent of his influence and rapport within the Saudi realm.
In addition, ESPN’s Marc Raimondi highlighted the upcoming UFC event’s association with Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh Season festival, with Dana White expected to unveil the fight card in the coming months. The article also emphasized WWE’s prosperous partnership with Saudi Arabia, which potentially influenced the decision to hold the UFC event in the country. Notably, Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia, continues to host a series of high-profile events, including the anticipated Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou bout and the upcoming WWE Crown Jewel premium live event, underscoring the region’s growing prominence as a key hub for diverse sporting spectacles.
Those in WWE had told us that Vince was involved in UFC’s new deal with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia had been interested in MMA in the past and had made a huge offer to Khabib Nurmagomedov to come out of retirement but Nurmagomedov decided against it. But Vince’s relationships there helped UFC close a similar big money deal.”
“He also said, “HHH and Stephanie have always been great to work with. I’ve always had a great relationship with them, always, even when we weren’t aligned back in the day. But the most amazing story is the relationship with Vince McMahon.” He also said, “Vince McMahon, man, he’s an absolute savage. Even with the stuff that went down with us in the past, I respect it. I love killers. He’s definitely a killer. He’s the Michael Jordan of the business world.”