UFC CEO Dana White recently unveiled a fascinating story involving WWE founder Vince McMahon.
The two operate in distinct fields- one in the realm of sports, the other in the realm of entertainment. But the two have had their fair share of encounters.
In a candid conversation on Triggered, Dana White disclosed an incident. McMahon blocked UFC’s potential deal with NBC, a network with a longstanding partnership with WWE.
White stated: “It’s been an interesting relationship with Vince McMahon. I never saw Vince as competition, but I’m thinking Vince, in his heyday, he saw everyone as competition.”
“He was one of those guys that would f**king stick it to me, just to do it. We were about to do a deal with NBC, and it ends up, we get to the one-yard line, and Vince has the final say of who can go on USA Network and who can’t if you’re a combat sport.”
The pivotal moment arrived when the UFC was on the verge of sealing a groundbreaking deal with NBC. White and Lorenzo Fertitta flew out to Connecticut for a crucial meeting with McMahon.
White continued: “Lorenzo [Lorenzo Fertitta] and I flew out to Connecticut, sat down with him, we do all the small talk, ‘We’re doing a deal with NBC.’ Vince sits back like Vince sits. ‘We’re about to do this deal, we’re about to have fights on NBC and everything else, but you need to sign off on it.’ Vince says, ‘Yeah, I’m not going to do that.’ We’re like, ‘Why?’ ‘Eh, I’m just not interested in it. I don’t like the idea of you guys being on USA Network.’”
The NBC deal crumbled, leaving White and Fertitta to reassess their options. Surprisingly, this setback led to an even better opportunity – a partnership with FOX.
White went on to say: “The whole deal blows up. At the end of the day, it all worked out better, we ended up on FOX. That’s just one of ten times where Vince did it.”
Now with the UFC’s parent company Endeavor’s acquisition of the WWE and the creation of a new publicly listed company called TKO Holdings Group to house both brands, Dana White and Vince McMahon now oversee their respective companies under the same banner.
White commends McMahon, saying, “Now, Vince has been an incredible partner. Literally keeps me in the loop with everything going on, making sure I’m cool with decisions that could affect the UFC.”
With the former rivalry between the UFC and WWE seemingly buried, the question that looms large is whether we’ll witness a convergence of these two billion-dollar promotions in the future.