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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Dana White no longer UFC president following $21 billion merger with WWE

UFC fight promoter Dana White speaks on behalf of his friend, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, during the second session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, US July 19, 2016.—Reuters 

Dana White has been removed from his position as President of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) following the official merger with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).

The WWE and Endeavor, the company that operates the UFC, will now be officially known as TKO, a new $21.4 billion sports entertainment company.

However, White isn’t stepping away from the scene entirely; he has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of UFC.

According to an announcement from TKO, Lawrence Epstein will retain his role as Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of UFC. Meanwhile, Nick Khan will continue to serve as WWE’s President.

The TKO Board of Directors, headed by Executive Chairman Vince McMahon, consists of 11 members, with Ari Emanuel, the boss of Endeavor, among them.

Speaking about this transformative shift, Dana White expressed his excitement for the future during a UFC “Contender Series” press conference. He emphasized that while the merger has taken UFC to new heights, his authority and decision-making power remain intact. 

White affirmed his commitment to maintaining UFC’s track record of excellence, stating that the merger has provided the organization with greater resources and potential. He outlined plans for expanding Performance Institutes globally, including in Mexico, and hinted at UFC’s potential entry into the world of boxing.

Operationally, there won’t be significant changes in the UFC’s day-to-day activities. However, one notable implication of this merger is the potential for UFC fighters in the later stages of their careers to follow in the footsteps of Ronda Rousey, transitioning to WWE.

In this new phase under the TKO Group Holdings banner, Dana White’s transition to CEO reflects a strategic realignment of leadership, aiming to leverage the combined strengths of UFC and WWE to forge an even more influential presence in the world of combat sports and entertainment.

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