WWE not actively promoting Lesnar at UFC 200

July 5, 2016

Despite receiving the blessing of the WWE, the company will not be actively promoting Brock Lesnar’s fight against Mark Hunt this Saturday at UFC 200.

The WWE’s Stephanie McMahon told Business Insider that Lesnar’s appearance at UFC 200 is a “special case” but not a cross-promotional opportunity.  As the WWE has done in the past, it differentiated the two companies that seem to be inextricably compared.  McMahon stated that the “UFC is not a competitor to the WWE because we [WWE] are entertainment and UFC is competitive sport.  It’s very different.”  She also made it clear that while they were not supporting the fight, the more awareness Brock’s appearance makes at 200, there is value for the WWE brand.

While the WWE may not overtly support Lesnar’s octagon appearance this Saturday, it’s clear that the WWE is the indirect recipient of mainstream press.  For its part, the WWE is taking advantage of the publicity.

It announced that Lesnar will be on the cover of this year’s WWE video game, WWE 2K17.  It also announced that Lesnar’s opponent for Summerslam would be announced this week on USA’s Smackdown show.

Payout Perspective:

It’s an interesting “hands-somewhat-off” approach that the WWE is making.  It’s clear that Lesnar is the biggest draw for the UFC this weekend and this should please the WWE.  But, in order to stay true to its brand and the entertainment component of the product, it is not doing anything out of the ordinary to promote Brock’s presence at UFC 200.  It’s clear that the WWE could have done a special on its own network centering on Brock’s return to the octagon or even make more mention of it during its television programming.  Is it a mistake?  The WWE is keen on its brand and the decision to keep UFC Brock and WWE Brock separate (even though the UFC may not) seems like a thought out decision.

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