On the historic date of September 12, 2023, WWE officially solidified its merger with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), heralding a new era in the realm of sports entertainment. The corporate landscape of WWE has begun to transform in response to this landmark union, and Dutch Mantell, a seasoned veteran with over five decades of experience in the professional wrestling industry, has emerged as a vocal figure raising pertinent concerns.
Dutch Mantell's illustrious career in pro wrestling, spanning back to 1972, boasts affiliations with prestigious organizations such as WCW, WWE, and IMPACT Wrestling. Recently, on his podcast "Story Time with Dutch Mantell," the veteran pundit delved into the potential implications of the WWE-UFC merger on the scheduling of their respective pay-per-view events.
Concurrent Weekend Events
One of the striking changes anticipated post-merger is the occurrence of WWE and UFC major events on the same weekend. Mantell keenly observed the potential drawbacks of such a synchronicity. He elucidated, "With a wrestling pay-per-view on Saturday night and a UFC pay-per-view on Sunday night, they will use the same broadcast of RAW and the TV UFC has." In essence, this alignment could potentially compel fans to make a financial choice between the two extravaganzas, a scenario that could translate into losses for both sports entertainment giants.
Mantell elaborated on this financial conundrum, stating, "That’s an expensive weekend if you’re an MMA fan and a wrestling fan. You have to choose one or the other, and I don’t know how much effect that will have on either (...) But it is an expensive weekend.
They’re stacking a lot on a weekend in one town." His astute observation underscores the need for strategic planning to ensure that the simultaneous occurrence of these mega-events doesn't inadvertently hinder fan engagement and financial viability.
In addition to these concerns, reports are circulating about WWE's intentions to revamp its premium live event model post-merger. It is rumored that WWE will adopt a bid-based approach for selecting event locations, a practice already in use by UFC.
This bidding process is expected to extend beyond the Big Four premium live events, potentially encompassing all annual WWE shows in the future. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter has reported on this intriguing development.
As the wrestling world eagerly awaits these changes, it remains to be seen how the proposed modifications will impact both WWE and UFC in the days ahead. The merger has undeniably set the stage for a captivating chapter in the history of sports entertainment, as these industry titans navigate uncharted waters and strive to strike a harmonious balance between their respective fan bases.