The long-standing issues between UFC President Dana White and WWE Chairman Vince McMahon have taken a new twist as White has come forward with a startling revelation: McMahon blocked a significant business deal for the UFC several years ago. While both figures are now under the TKO umbrella and are essentially business partners, their tumultuous history adds a layer of complexity to their professional relationship.
Vince McMahon’s pivotal role in the MMA world is no secret. In 2005, he gave the green light to Spike TV to air “The Ultimate Fighter” immediately following WWE’s Raw. This decision turned out to be a game-changer for the UFC, propelling it to global prominence. At the time, it’s believed that McMahon couldn’t foresee the immense success that the MMA promotion would achieve.
However, during a recent interview on the Triggered podcast, Dana White dropped a bombshell. He revealed that Vince McMahon prevented the UFC from securing television deals with NBC and the USA Network back in 2011, during negotiations for a new TV contract. This unexpected roadblock stemmed from a clause in McMahon’s existing TV contracts, granting him the ultimate authority to decide if NBCUniversal could broadcast programming that might be perceived as direct competition to WWE.
White recounted the story of Lorenzo Fertitta, the co-owner of the UFC at the time, making a trip to WWE Headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, in a bid to persuade McMahon to change his stance. Despite Fertitta’s efforts, McMahon remained steadfast, stating, “Yeah, I’m not going to do that.” He added, “I don’t like the idea of you guys on the USA Network.” Consequently, the deal fell through, and the UFC eventually secured an agreement with FOX/Fox Sports 1.
- Advertisement -
It’s worth noting that White expressed his satisfaction with the current state of their partnership under the TKO umbrella, emphasizing that McMahon “couldn’t be a better partner” and keeps him informed about matters that could impact the UFC.
This revelation not only provides an intriguing insight into the complex dynamics between these two influential figures but also showcases the high stakes and competition in the world of televised sports entertainment. The fact that McMahon’s influence could have significantly altered the trajectory of the UFC’s growth raises questions about the interplay of power in the industry.
While the business landscape has evolved since 2011, with both the UFC and WWE pursuing distinct paths, Dana White’s disclosure is a reminder of the ever-present tensions and power struggles that define the world of professional sports and entertainment. Vince McMahon’s role as a gatekeeper and his ability to shape the competitive landscape are clear, and the implications of his decisions continue to resonate in the world of combat sports.
As the TKO partnership between White and McMahon thrives, this revelation adds another layer of complexity to their ongoing saga. It underscores the multifaceted nature of their relationship, characterized by intense competition, shifting alliances, and the ongoing quest for supremacy in the realm of televised sports entertainment.