The news was officially announced on Monday that two American combat sports heavyweights, the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and the leading mixed martial arts organization, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), will merge.

Entertainment behemoth Endeavor, which currently owns the UFC, will hold a 51 percent majority stake in the new entity, compared with 49 percent for WWE shareholders, the two groups said in their statement. The new entity, which will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange in the second half of the year, will be valued at over $21.4 billion: $12.1 billion for the UFC and $9.3 billion for the WWE.

Two behemoths of world sports

The UFC and WWE will contribute $150 million in cash to the new company, which will be led by Ariel Emmanuel, Endeavor’s CEO (a position he will retain in parallel). Vince McMahon, the current executive chairman of the WWE, will head the board of directors of the new group.

After buying what was then the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) from his father in 1982, Vince McMahon turned the fringe league into a global phenomenon. The league became World Wrestling Entertainment in 2002 and last year passed the $1 billion mark in annual revenue. Its events fill major venues in the United States and abroad.

After being forced to leave in 2022 following accusations of sexual harassment, Vince McMahon took over the reins of the company in early January. He explained that he wanted to lead the search for a potential buyer.

For its part, the UFC is the leading MMA organization in the world, with more than 700 million fans, according to the release. Last year, the UFC and WWE reported $2.4 billion in revenue between them, growing 10 percent annually since 2019.

In electronic trading before the New York Stock Exchange opened, Endeavor’s stock was up 4.4 percent at $25, while WWE’s stock was down 7.2 percent at $84.6.

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