Dwayne Johnson joins TKO Group Holdings board of directors, takes ownership of ‘The Rock’ name

Dwayne Johnson can definitely smell what the UFC and WWE are cooking.

The former professional wrestler turned Hollywood actor has joined the board of directors at TKO Group Holdings after maintaining a strong relationship with both WWE and UFC over the years. Johnson has also been a longtime client represented by the talent agency at Endeavor, the parent company to TKO Group Holdings.

As part of the deal to join the board of directors, Johnson also gains full ownership over the name “The Rock,” which was a moniker he adopted during his rise to fame as one of the biggest superstars on the WWE roster.

“My grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia, and my dad, Rocky ‘Soulman’ Johnson, would’ve never thought this day would come,” Johnson said in a press release. “Which is why I’m very humbled to have a seat at the table that has decades of history and family legacy for me. A table that my family helped to build. Being on the TKO Board of Directors, and taking full ownership of my name, ‘The Rock’, is not only unprecedented, but incredibly inspiring as my crazy life is coming full circle.

“At my core, I’m a builder who builds for and serves the people, and Ari [Emanuel] is building something truly game changing. I’m very motivated to help continue to globally expand our TKO, WWE, and UFC businesses as the worldwide leaders in sports and entertainment — while proudly representing so many phenomenal athletes and performers who show up every day putting in the hard work with their own two hands to make their dreams come true and deliver for our audiences. I’ve been there, I’m still there and this is for them.”

Johnson’s addition to the TKO board of directors along with an appointment for Brad Kaywell — a co-founder at Groupon as well as Uptake Technologies — increases the board from 11 to 13 members.

Despite largely moving onto acting as a full-time job, Johnson has also become an entrepreneur in recent years building up his Seven Bucks productions — a studio he founded with his ex-wife Dani Garcia — as well as becoming an owner in the United Football League.

Perhaps the bigger part of the deal for Johnson will be gaining ownership of “The Rock” name, which was previously held by WWE. The name was adopted from his father Rocky Johnson, who was the first Black champion in WWE alongside tag-team partner Tony Atlas.

With ownership over “The Rock” name, Johnson also entered into a service and merchandizing agreement with WWE for “promotional, licensing, and other services.” Johnson also just recently appeared on WWE programming with rumors swirling that he’ll perform at WrestleMania, which remains the company’s marquee event every year.

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