Fans should expect to see plenty more of the WWE - UFC crossover no one asked to see

Fans expected to see some crossover between the WWE and UFC, as recent shows for both companies gave a taste of what is to come.
CM Punk Jan 2.jpg
CM Punk Jan 2.jpg /

When the WWE merger with UFC was complete, fans expected to see more crossover between the two entities. This wasn’t going to show itself as WWE wrestlers fighting in the Octagon or UFC champions in the main event of WWE PLEs, but there would certainly be more on-screen presence. The February 19 edition of WWE Raw was a big indication of that, along with more that occurred throughout that weekend.

The weekend of February 17-18 was promoted as one of the first in which WWE and UFC would put on back-to-back events in the same venue. On February 17, UFC 298 went down in Anaheim, California as Ilia Topuria defeated Alexander Volkanovski to become the new UFC Featherweight Champion. That following Monday was the next edition of WWE Raw and several combat sports athletes made their way to either the television screen or social media platform.

Boxer with UFC ties, Callum Walsh, and UFC strawweight, Tabatha Ricci posted a video of them walking down the WWE Raw entranceway with the tag titles in tow. Then there was the “moment” that UFC title contender Michael Chandler had on the microphone calling out former two-division champion, Conor McGregor. This followed a weekend where Bianca Belair and Montez Ford were shown in the UFC 298 crowd, along with CM Punk. The crossover is coming, whether fans of either company want to see it or not.

There are ways that each company could learn from the other. Take WWE shifting its presentation into more of the “entertainment” aspect of sports. Everything from backstage interviews, performer arrivals, and introduction videos – none of these aspects as truly “new,” but it’s still intriguing to see WWE leverage them in a style to fit into a lot of the things UFC has done for years.

It will be interesting to see how this continues to play out in the future. It’s been well-documented that the fan crossover between professional wrestling and MMA is minimal. Names like Brock Lesnar and Ronda Rousey may move eyeballs, but no one has the ability to do that today. It would take nothing less than a Roman Reigns battle in the Octagon to truly have an impact that would be worthwhile, and everyone knows that’s not happening. On the flip side of that, McGregor may be the only name on the UFC roster that could pull any MMA fans over to watching WWE.

It is all fun and games the first time WWE and UFC viewers see their favorite names on the other shows, but there’s a line that should not be crossed. TKO Group Holdings has two organizations with a very loyal following, and the best bet would be to keep them 99.7 percent separate on screen.

Professional wrestling and mixed martial arts are the cousins that only speak during the holidays. The TKO merger brings the two industries even closer. Fans should expect to see more crossover in the years to come, but it’s important to recognize there’s a strong chance fans of both brands will rebel if there’s too much overtime.