On April 3rd, it was announced that a deal had been struck for WWE to be acquired by Endeavor and merged with UFC.
In the press release announcing the merger, Endeavor revealed that WWE and UFC would be combine into a new $21+ billion corporation. Endeavor head Ari Emanuel will serve as CEO while Vince McMahon will be Executive Chairman of the Board of the new company. UFC President Dana White will continue in his role, and former WWE CEO Nick Khan will now serve as president of WWE.
As soon as the news broke, speculation began as to what this could mean for WWE’s big money deal with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The sports entertainment giant announced a ten-year partnership with the kingdom back in 2018. Since the deal began, eight premium live events have been held in Saudi Arabia, with WWE hosting two-per year, although this was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite having a partnership previously, the relationship between Endeavor and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia became rocky in 2019 following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Endeavor even returned their $400 million investment following the news.
Speaking in a new interview with Axios, Nick Khan was asked about the impending merger and how it will affect relations between WWE and Saudi Arabia. Khan insists that their relationship is still on great terms, and that WWE has provided exactly what the Kingdom has asked.
“[O]ur relationship with The Kingdom is a terrific partnership for which we’re appreciative of, and you know, nothing in terms of anyone else’s prior experience will affect that. We think that we’ve delivered the product in the way that the Kingdom wanted it delivered. We have a multiple year agreement with them in place. We’re excited to do a show — we’ll be back there May 27 for a big premium live event.“
WWE Returns To Saudi Arabia For King & Queen Of The Ring
Last month, it was reported that WWE was headed back to Saudi Arabia on May 27th to put on King and Queen of the Ring. This will mark the second time the tournament finals will have taken place in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with Xavier Woods and Zelina Vega being crowned during the 2021 edition of Crown Jewel.
The partnership between WWE and Saudi Arabia is currently set to expire in 2027.
WWE held a talent meeting following news of their merger with UFC, and details on that meeting can be found here.