WWE, UFC merging live events teams into single group

TKO brought WWE and UFC under one roof in September, and now the company has announced that the live-events teams for both promotions will be merged into one unit.

The fully integrated unit will be called the TKO Live Events Strategy Team. According to a statement given to ESPN, the new unit "aligns with TKO's efforts to leverage the power and expertise of both UFC and WWE to maximize event revenue potential and pursue growth opportunities and cost synergies."

"Demand for live sports and entertainment has never been stronger, and we believe our portfolio of events will continue to drive the growth of our business," Andrew Schleimer, chief financial officer of TKO, said in a statement. "The newly integrated TKO Live Events Strategy Team will focus on creating operational efficiencies and developing strategies to leverage the broader economic benefits we bring to host cities, including partnering with local governments and maximizing revenue opportunities from site fees."

UFC senior executive Peter Dropick will be elevated to the role of executive vice president, event development and operations for TKO and will work closely with UFC president and CEO Dana White, WWE president Nick Khan, UFC COO Lawrence Epstein, WWE chief content officer Paul "Triple H" Levesque and Schleimer on growing the live event business for both the professional wrestling and mixed martial arts promotions.

The combination of WWE and UFC under TKO was first announced in April 2023 and became official in September. Since then, there have been traces of integration between the two promotions. WWE superstars have appeared at UFC live events, and several UFC fighters have been ringside at WWE events. Both promotions will be in Louisville, Kentucky, at the KFC Yum! Center in June with WWE SmackDown taking place on June 7 and UFC Fight Night: Cannonier vs. Imavov the following night. A ticket bundle has been offered to attend both shows.

The biggest leap to showcase the relationship between the promotions was announced last month when WWE announced that NXT Battleground will take place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on June 9.

Both promotions have had a strong start to 2024 with WrestleMania 40 setting a WWE gate record of over 145,000 fans over two nights at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field in April. A week later, UFC 300 set a UFC attendance record at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with 20,067 fans.

According to Dana White, UFC 303 -- which marks the return of Conor McGregor -- is trending to be the first UFC event with a live gate of over $20 million.