- UFC is majority-owned by Endeavor Group, with other primary shareholders including Silver Lake Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and MSD Capital.
- President Dana White has no ownership stake in the company, selling his minority ownership when Endeavor purchased the organization.
- The Ultimate Fighting Championship is valued at $12.1 billion and has seen continual explosive growth since the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.
- Ownership of UFC has changed hands multiple times, with the Fertitta brothers purchasing the organization in 2002 and Endeavor acquiring it in 2016.
- UFC generates revenue through sponsorship deals, pay-per-view sales, and partnerships with sports networks.
Who owns UFC? UFC, or Ultimate Fighting Championship, is one of the premier organizations for mixed martial arts. While it may have competitors like Bellator MMA and Pride FC, neither of those have the same recognition or brand strength as UFC.
Interestingly, this MMA organization hasn’t always been a powerhouse of the sport. It has humble roots, steeped more in the underground of martial arts than the titan of combat sports it has become today. If you’ve been curious about the ownership and current market valuation of this organization, you’re in the right place.
Who Owns the UFC Right Now?
While Ultimate Fighting Championship is publicly traded, it is majority-owned by Endeavor Group Holdings. The media and entertainment entity currently holds 50.1% of all stocks in the company, with other smaller investors filling in the gaps. The stock exchange listing is a fairly recent development. UFC only started allowing stock purchases in 2021.
Other primary shareholders in UFC include Silver Lake Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and MSD Capital. You can purchase stock for UFC at any time. However, it is under the umbrella group of Endeavor, meaning you’re also investing in the likes of the WWE and Professional Bull Riding.
Top Brass at UFC
President Dana White serves as the figurehead of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He has also been instrumental in providing continual growth and negotiating deals with sponsors. White has no ownership stake in the company, having sold his minority ownership when Endeavor purchased the organization.
Aside from White, much of the top brass at UFC are primarily the top executives running things at Endeavor Group. Ari Emanuel, the CEO of Endeavor Group, would seem to serve as the speartip for leadership. This affects both UFC and other properties owned by Endeavor.
How Much Is UFC Worth?
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has a value of $12.1 billion. This fact was revealed at the time of the WWE merger. This is a fairly recent valuation, having come out in April of 2023. It is the most famous and notable of the MMA organizations floating around, and as such has quite a significant media presence.
UFC’s prospects for future growth continue to look strong, with continual explosive growth that has been marked since the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. While many sports organizations were having to curtail activities, the MMA organization was able to adapt its strategies to still get high profits and views.
Changes in Ownership at UFC
This particular MMA organization has been around since 1993 and has quite an interesting history when you really get down to it. Now, it is known for personalities like Conor McGregor, Jon Jones, and Anderson Silva among others.
The martial arts circuit wasn’t quite as powerful during its founding as it is now, but the organization has endured where few others succeeded.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship was founded in 1993 by Art Davie and Rorion Gracie. Those in the know are familiar with the Gracie family and its prominence on the martial arts scene. It originally served as a promotion to determine the best fighting style, conducting eight-man tournaments.
These tournaments were held over the course of a single night, making for action-packed sporting events for martial arts fans. However, the first eight years of the organization’s existence were marked with financial troubles despite laying the foundation for things to come.
Ownership changed hands in 2002 with the purchase of the UFC by the Fertitta brothers. This new venture would be founded under Zuffa, LLC, and began to mark the real shift in UFC’s fortunes.
Zuffa would be key in actually getting the organization the traction it needed to capitalize on its novel concept. The foundations of mixed martial arts had already been laid with the tournament format. However, the shift in leadership would begin the framework of more conventional matches.
Weight classes and rankings were introduced for fighters across the board. A women’s division was also key in establishing its popularity, with fighters like Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm being some of the more notable figures to rise.
UFC was purchased by Endeavor in 2016, marking its current era. The format of broadcasts and the structure of how fighters compete have largely remained unchanged. Few sporting organizations have been able to go from such humble beginnings to such meteoric success.
Endeavor’s purchase of the UFC came at a time when the promotion was a roaring success. Since the purchase, the profits continue to rise and the organization is arguably larger now than it was just a decade ago.
How Does UFC Make Money?
There are multiple revenue streams surrounding the Ultimate Fighting Championship. First and foremost is its sponsorship deals with advertisers, ranging from energy drinks to cryptocurrency, providing cash flow.
One of the largest money-makers for UFC is the pay-per-view model. Much like boxing and its dominance in the late 80s and early 90s, pay-per-view sales account for a large percentage of the profits. Dana White’s leadership is a key factor here, as he has been able to negotiate lucrative deals all around.
UFC also carries partnerships with sports networks. These networks broadcast the lower card matches, which usually serve as a setup for the larger PPV fights. Financial prospects for the organization are currently strong, with 2023 first-quarter earnings reported at over $220 million.
Legal Disputes Around UFC
One of the larger legal disputes surrounding the UFC is the issue of fighter pay. While some viewers may expect the same lavish styles and huge paydays of boxing, the UFC is decidedly more conservative in how it pays its fighters.
The top echelon of fighters can often earn purses of millions of dollars for a single fight. However, lower-ranked fighters are likely to earn tens of thousands of dollars. This comes as a shock, especially considering the physical harm fighters incur over the course of a fight.
Currently, a class-action lawsuit is underway against the UFC for low fighter pay. Former fighters allege that the organization has violated the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. A recent filing has provided more motion to the case, but it is likely to drag out for years to come.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship is going to experience explosive growth in the years to come. Currently, it is poised at the top of professional martial arts, dwarfing the likes of professional Brazilian jiu-jitsu and kickboxing like the K1 and K2 circuits.
However, time will tell if the organization is able to maintain its stellar growth. While the Ultimate Fighting Championship has experienced massive growth, Bellator and Pride continue to grow, as well.
|Endeavor Group (50.1% of stocks)
|Other Primary Shareholders
|Silver Lake Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and MSD Capital
|$12.1 billion (as of April 2023)
|Dana White (No ownership stake)
|Art Davie and Rorion Gracie (1993)
|Fertitta brothers under Zuffa, LLC (2002)
|Sponsorship deals, Pay-per-view model, Partnerships with sports networks
|Class-action lawsuit for low fighter pay
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Andrius Petrucenia, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.