For years, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and WWE have been at different ends of the sport entertainment spectrum. While UFC incorporates actual combat through world-class mixed martial arts (MMA), WWE does feature some of the more freakishly gifted athletes on the planet today. Each organization believes it's better than the other, while athletes from both parties have crossed over in the past in the name of cold hard cash.
Notable stars from each outlet, such as Brock Lesnar and Ronda Rousey, have worked hand-in-hand with the other in order to promote for profit. According to UFC president Dana White, who has been at the helm of the MMA juggernaut for over 15 years, dealing with WWE owner Vince McMahon hasn't been one of the easier business ventures.
"If you look at what Vince McMahon has accomplished in all of his years and to still be on top and still be doing it," said White during a recent appearance on Ric Flair's podcast (transcribed by FOX Sports). "The guy's got enough money, he's in it because he loves it, he's in it because he's still passionate about it. I would say that this last Brock deal and when Ronda went over did the WWE WrestleMania, those were the two out of all the years of dealing with Vince and everybody, those were probably the two best experiences."
"I've been trying to work with Vince for years and it was obviously very difficult. Vince is a maniac. He's a (expletive) competitor, that's what he is."
UFC and WWE most notably shared investments when Brock Lesnar made his MMA return at UFC 200 this past July. While the WWE superstar later popped for a United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) violation, he helped save a UFC 200 card that was without Conor McGregor and without Jon Jones. Lesnar went on to earn a $2.5 million payday (excluding pay-per-view percentages) and WWE had its August Summerslam event promoted during UFC's biggest show of the year.
"I think Vince and definitely Stephanie (McMahon) and Triple H — Stephanie and Triple H are always great, always cool to work with — Vince has been very difficult in the past but the past several years he's been much better," added White. "He's a (expletive) maniac, he's an animal, he's a competitor, he wants to win. That's his nature and I respect it."
If UFC and WWE want to capture lighting in a bottle once again they'll join hands and take advantage of McGregor's growing feud with the world of professional wrestling.