WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) and UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) are now under one roof.
WWE started as Capitol Wrestling Corporation (CWC) in the early 50’s. CWC became World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) in the 60’s and World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in the late 70’s. In 2002, after a longstanding trademark dispute with the World Wildlife Fund, the name was changed to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). Not a big deal, as sport is entertainment anyway, don’t you agree?
In its infancy, WWE was simply a regional wrestling promotion body in the North-East US. Over the years, pay-per-view events, storylines and over-the-top Wrestle Mania characters such as Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker and Stone Cold Steve Austin attracted huge audiences. World Championship Wrestling (WCW) entered the mix, creating a rivalry with WWE, known as Monday Night Wars. Eventually WWE purchased WCW, becoming the undisputed leader in the professional wrestling industry … and raking in more than $1 billion in 2022. Ka-ching!
UFC is a US mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion company that was founded a quarter century later than WWE. Its first events were considered to be barbaric. As popularity increased, more rules and regulations were put into place to make events safer and more competitive, attracting larger audiences. Like WWE, UFC held events in arenas and stadiums, and offered pay-per view. It launched the careers of stars such as Conor McGregor, Jon Jones and Ronda Rousey, among others. UFC is also a member of the billion dollar club.
The main difference between WWE and UFC is that WWE provides a scripted entertainment product, whereas UFC involves true combat sport:
- In WWE, the matches are largely theatrical, choreographed affairs with larger-than-life opponents. The outcomes are decided by writers and producers. Wrestlers perform their roles in a safe, controlled environment and are not allowed to seriously injure each other. The WWE target audience is young people and families
- In UFC, match outcomes are not predetermined. There is no script. Within prescribed rules and regulations, anything is possible. Serious injuries during combats may occur. The UFC audience is predominantly adult
Now that WWE and UFC are one, that basically covers the entire universe of folks who are interested in combat sports. With the goal of defeating or incapacitating one’s opponent, both can be very exciting and entertaining to watch. Let’s hope that the synergy created by joining forces results in an even better audience experience, not price gouging in the absence of competition. Mr. Khan and Mr. Emanuel – do you hear us?
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