Nick Khan says WWE's Kevin Dunn & UFC's Craig Borsari have talked about what a TKO All-Star weekend could look like

Originally published at Nick Khan says WWE's Kevin Dunn & UFC's Craig Borsari have talked about what a TKO All-Star weekend could look like

Ideas for it discussed by Nick Khan. 

As WWE President and TKO Group Holdings Board member Nick Khan made the media rounds, he sat down with Bill Simmons to record an episode of his podcast

The interview was done one day prior to the formal announcement of the UFC-WWE merger being completed. While conversing about the prospects that could emerge from the merger, Khan touched on the idea of a TKO All-Star weekend. 

He added that WWE’s Kevin Dunn and UFC’s Production Executive Craig Borsari have had conversations about what that could look like. Khan suggested a scenario where there are UFC and WWE events on the same day and one is international while the other is domestic so they do not conflict time-wise. He also spoke about the idea of UFC and WWE running the same city on the same weekend.

So the conversations are just beginning now. Everybody wanted to make sure that we got all the regulatory approvals in place. Department of Justice approval, SEC approval, a couple of international approvals that we needed and obviously, we got all of those so the conversations are just happening now. But yes, what everyone envisions is can you set up an all-star TKO weekend where if SmackDown goes on Friday and the UFC goes on Saturday with a pay-per-view and WWE goes with a Premium Live Event on Sunday, can you do that from the same city? Certainly a lot of cost efficiencies there in terms of production. But a lot of revenue efficiencies in terms of upside we think there as well. 

Well certainly the fighters and the WWE superstars would stay separate as you might imagine and yes, could you have a Ronda Rousey or Brock Lesnar come along who can cross from one to the other? Sure. But that’s a once-in-a-decade if not longer type of thing. But in terms of production, Kevin Dunn who’s been with WWE for 40-plus years, Craig Borsari who’s been with UFC for over a decade who’s in charge of all the production there, they’ve had a number of conversations on those efficiencies, how it might look, how it might work and hopefully we have some news on that in a couple of months. 

We’re going through the 2024 UFC pay-per-view calendar and WWE Premium Live Event calendar. As you know, we call our events Premium Live Events because there’s no upcharge in the United States on them and in essence, they are what the pay-per-views were. So WWE’s position is hey, WrestleMania is our Super Bowl. These are the dates we have scheduled. We prefer obviously that UFC not go up against that. UFC says, yeah, of course we’re not going to go up against that and then we say, alright, what dates are important to you? Where are you going from? Ideally, what we like, especially in my opinion if you look at the international expansion of WWE’s Premium Live Events, then you look at the UFC’s already expansion, even the show this past Saturday night from Australia, you could see a lot of events that, hey, WWE’s going at 3 PM Eastern from an international location. UFC’s going at 8 or 9 Eastern domestically, or the opposite of that. We like that too because you have two gates, two separate merchandise. In theory, if you can get a government subsidy for the international show or a domestic show, you have subsidies and then boom, both events are right there. But planning it in advance, I don’t believe that we’ll trip over each other in any way. 

Speaking about the current WWE talent pool, Simmons expressed his opinion that it’s one of the better stretches for the company when it comes to star power. 

Khan agreed and touched on one of the names that Simmons mentioned, L.A. Knight. Khan said Knight is the first version of himself and that’s a part of the reason why he’s resonating with the audience. He added that in any field or business, there can be a lot of emphasis put on finding the next version of something or someone who was great for said field or business instead of letting that take shape in its own form.

We think so (it’s one of the better stretches for WWE when it comes to star power)… You mentioned L.A. Knight, I think what’s proven in combat sports is the next one never looks like the last one so you see folks, WWE included, you get a John Cena and part of the thought is, oh, you just need to find the next John Cena. There is no next John Cena. The next one never looks like the last one. If you look at UFC, same thing. So when you saw Conor McGregor who’s obviously a megastar in terms of marketability and then the kid Darren Till came around and it was, ‘Oh, Darren Till’s gonna be the next Conor McGregor.’ It was never gonna be a next Conor McGregor. If you look at boxing, when everyone was looking for the next Muhammad Ali, it didn’t look like Muhammad Ali. It looked like ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard. When everyone’s looking for the next Ray Leonard, didn’t look like Ray Leonard, it looked like Mike Tyson and then as far Floyd (Mayweather Jr.), (Manny) Pacquiao, whatever that might have been. So I think sometimes, one or an entity can become fixated on, hey, this is our next so and so. I’ve never seen it work. L.A. Knight’s the first L.A. Knight and that’s part of why we think that he’s resonating.

Over the past week, it’s been reported by both PWInsider and Fightful Select that WWE and Knight are in negotiations for a new contract.

If the quotes in this article are used, please credit The Bill Simmons Podcast with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.

Burying the lead from the Simmons interview:

I’ll add (for the thousandth time) that, while I have no problem with casual fans, I’m tired of Simmons acting as “the voice of the fans“ in the mainstream media just because he hit gold as a whiny Boston fan right when the Pats and Red Sox were beginning their runs in the early 2000s.

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