A fight at a Kinkos copy shop over a silly insult hurled at
a customer by an employee indirectly led to a Bonanza High
School and UNLV graduate becoming one of the most successful
power brokers in the world of sports.
Now Nick Khan is the president and chief revenue officer of
the WWE, which is bringing the sports entertaiment companys
biggest show of 2021 back to this hometown.
Then he was a young attorney, who had grown up a boxing fan
when the sport was in its heyday in Las Vegas and later
gotten to know legendary boxing training Freddie Roach,
spending his free time hanging around Roachs Wild Card
Boxing gym in Hollywood.
One day, he got a call from Roach. The legendary trainer and
former pro boxer, who is 5 feet, 8 inches tall and has
Parkinsons disease, had been in a fight at Kinkos. Roachs
side of the story is that a 6-6 customer was berating an
employee, who fired back with a snarky comment.
Roach laughed, which further enraged the customer. At this
point, the customer backed Roach into a corner and swung.
Roach countered with a left hook and knocked him out in one
punch, prompting a multimillion-dollar lawsuit.
Khan represented him and won the case, leading Roach to ask
Khan to represent one of his young fighters in a contract
It was Manny Pacquiao.
That put Khan was on the fast track in the sports business
world. He eventually launched a sports and news broadcaster
division at an agency that soon merged with International
Creative Management in 2006.
At ICM, Khans list of clients became a whos who in the
broadcasting world. He moved on to powerhouse Creative
Artists Agency in 2012, working his way to Co-Head of
The WWE was a client, and Khan joined the company during the
pandemic last summer.
SummerSlam will take place at Allegiant Stadium on Aug. 21.
Tickets went on sale Friday for the full-capacity event,
which usually plays second-fiddle to Wrestlemania on the WWE
calendar. This year, however, attendance was limited to
25,000 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa over two nights.
So Khan and the WWE turned their attention to Allegiant
Stadium for what will be one of the first full-scale events
in the new stadium.
Las Vegas hasnt always been the strongest market for the
WWE, but Khan says their standard Monday night cards may not
be best suited for such a strong tourist town. SummerSlam is
the kind of event avid pro wrestling fans travel to from
around the country.
It doesnt hurt to be the hometown of one of the key
Im biased, but I think the work ethic in Las Vegas is
extremely strong, so for the hard-working people to be
sidelined for that amount of time had to be hard to take,
So when someone in WWE suggested having a big event in a
city that could use a boost in tourism, Khan immediately
thought of Las Vegas. Certainly it will get there on its
own, but if we can help accelerate that for a weekend and
bring some excitement that helps with that, it meant a lot
It will mean a lot to Khan to be back home. After graduating
from Bonanza in 1992, he attended UNLV. He worked his way
through school bussing and waiting tables at Cafe Michelle
at Flamingo and Maryland.
Im the same person I was when I was bussing tables in Las
Vegas, he said. Youre working really hard, youre trying
to make money and trying to have the customer leave
satisfied with a smile on their face. This is the same skill
Ultimately, its a service business, and its incumbent on
us to service our fans and be good to our colleagues, while
talking straight to each other, which I think is an
important quality of this company.
Khan would have considered attending law school at UNLV, but
it opened in 1998, a year after he finished his undergrad.
So he found himself studying law in southern California and
eventually went to work as a lawyer in 2000.
Theres only one boss at this company and thats Vince
McMahon, Khan said. Im here to help him grow the
business, hone the business and help develop new revenue
streams for the business.
A good fit
Bringing a massive show to Las Vegas and Allegiant Stadium
certainly fits that mission statement, especially since
SummerSlam is usually more of an arena event than a stadium
Ultimately, we wanted to do the first big sports event with
fans at Allegiant Stadium, he said. It was important to us
as a company, and we want to do even more in Vegas.
Thats now possible with the advent of Allegiant Stadium,
which Khan believes combines with T-Mobile Arena to make Las
Vegas a premier sports destination.
How annoying and underwhelming was going to the Silver
Bowl? Khan remembers, referring to the facility that was
later renamed Sam Boyd Stadium. It was so brutal that it
wasnt even part of the conversation.
The last five to seven years youve seen this sort of surge
in Las Vegas in the sports space. It was sort of aggravating
growing up when people would only associate our town with
gambling and dancers. You would try to convince them it was
so much more than that.
The restaurants all come in during the late 90s, now you
see sports and the way its done in Las Vegas. Im really
proud of all of it and happy its happening for the city.
Not bad for a self-professed average student who grew up
just a few miles away from Allegiant Stadium, often being
sent to watch TV with his sister when they would annoy their
She is a very successful television writer, producer and
director who told Time Magazine back in 2016 that she and
Nick idolized former WWF star The Iron Sheik growing up.
Now Khan is running the company and bringing the big show to
Contact Adam Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow
@AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.