Vince McMahon addresses WWE sale, misconduct allegations

New company to be valued at more than $21 billion

Vince McMahon Monday opened up Monday about the deal that will see WWE and UFC merge as one $21.4 billion sports entertainment company.

Appearing on CNBC, McMahon said it was the right time to make a deal and sell to Endeavor Group Holdings – the parent company of UFC. Several companies had been rumored to be in talks with WWE about acquiring the business – most notably Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

"It's the right time to do the right thing. And it's the next evolution of WWE," he said.


Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania 38

Cody Rhodes makes his entrance during WrestleMania 38 in Arlington, Texas, on April 3, 2022. (WWE via AP / AP Newsroom)

McMahon added, "It makes all the sense in the world for all these synergies that we have to extract all of the value that we can out of the marketplace."

The 77-year-old came under fire last summer of sexual misconduct allegations. WWE later said it found some unrecorded expenses tied to McMahon. According to the Wall Street Journal in January, he also settled with a former referee who accused him of rape.

McMahon addressed the controversy as well.

"I've made mistakes, obviously, personally and professionally, through my 50-year career," he said via Fightful. "I've owned up to every single one of them and then moved on. I'm not sure of the legacy stuff. I'm not going to write it. I don't know. I want to say, as someone who had an extraordinary amount of fun, great passion for what they did and wound up with the biggest deal (Endeavor CEO Ari Emmanuel’s) ever done in his life."

Endeavor will hold a 51% controlling interest in the new company while WWE shareholders will have a 49% stake. The deal values UFC at $12.1 billion and WWE at $9.3 billion.

WWE WrestleMania 39

More than 80,000 attend the first night of WrestleMania 39 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, April 1, 2023. (WWE via AP / AP Newsroom)


This is a rare opportunity to create a global live sports and entertainment pureplay built for where the industry is headed," Emanuel said in a news release. "This is a rare opportunity to create a global live sports and entertainment pureplay built for where the industry is headed."

McMahon added, "Together, we will be a $21+ billion live sports and entertainment powerhouse with a collective fanbase of more than a billion people and an exciting growth opportunity. The new company will be well positioned to maximize the value of our combined media rights, enhance sponsorship monetization, develop new forms of content and pursue other strategic mergers and acquisitions to further bolster our strong stable of brands. I, along with the current WWE management team, look forward to working closely with Ari and the Endeavor and UFC teams to take the businesses to the next level."

Emanuel will become the new CEO of the company and continue his role as CEO of Endeavor. McMahon, who bought WWE from his father in 1982, will be the executive chairman of the board. Mark Shapiro will be the chief operating officer of the new company and Endeavor. Nick Khan will serve as the president of WWE, and Dana White will continue as president of UFC.

Vince McMahon has his arm raised

Apr 3, 2022; Arlington, TX, USA; WWE owner Vince McMahon celebrates during WrestleMania at AT&T Stadium. (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters Photos)


McMahon, who retired last year amid a sexual misconduct scandal, came back to the company in January looking to sell the company. McMahon was later elected executive chairman. His daughter, Stephanie McMahon, had taken over alongside Khan as co-CEO when McMahon retired. Stephanie McMahon has since stepped down as chairwoman and co-CEO.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.