UFC $4b sale could transform mixed martial arts competition into lucrative mainstream sport
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the sport of mixed martial arts or ‘cage fighting’, is about to become far more corporate.
The company behind the competition has been sold for $US4 billion to a group backed by private equity firms.
The deal was signed to an ownership group consisting of the talent agency William Morris Endeavor, International Management Group, and a private equity group MSD.
Associate Professor Con Stavros, from RMIT University, said the UFC could now become bigger than ever.
“[It’s a] significant amount of money for what has become one of the notable brands in world of sport, I think one of the key success stories that the UFC’s been able to deliver with this great sale is how well they’ve been able to tap into the digital market,” he said.
The UFC has confirmed the sale and now fans are wondering whether it will result in significant changes to the sport.
The sport has been called by critics ‘human cockfighting’, or a ‘blood sport’.
But 23-year-old Terence Hands, a fan of the sport, said when comparing the sport to others such as American football (NFL), UFC was not as dangerous.
“The concussion rates that [sports like NFL] have is just ridiculous,” he said.
“Like, you don’t get that kind of thing in MMA at the moment, you obviously have some instances, it’s not the perfect sport and that’s the competition of it.
“But I think … how violent it is now compared to how it was when it was unlawed (sic) and no gloves and everything was a go, it’s definitely a lot better.”
The company was founded in April 2009, after the merger of the William Morris Agency and the Endeavor Agency. WME represents artists across all media platforms, specifically movies, television, music, theatre, digital and publishing. It also represents the NFL and NHL. WME also owns the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The company is run by Co-CEOs Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell.
Born to a Jewish family in Chicago, Emanuel was raised in suburban Wilmette, Illinois. Emanuel is the brother of former White House Chief of Staff and current Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel, National Institutes of Health bioethicist Ezekiel J. Emanuel, and adopted sister Shoshana Emanuel. His father, Jerusalem-born Dr. Benjamin M. Emanuel, is a pediatrician who was active in the Irgun, a hardline Zionist militant group whose activities in Mandatory Palestine during the 1930s and 1940s led to its listing as a terrorist organization by the British authorities, the Jewish Agency and the 1946 Zionist Congress.
Born to a Jewish family, Whitesell is the son of Patricia and John Patrick “Jack” Whitesell. His brothers are Sean, Christopher, and director John Whitesell. He is originally from Iowa Falls, Iowa. A 1987 graduate of Luther College in Iowa, he resides in Beverly Hills, CA with his wife, news anchor Lauren Sánchez, and two children.
IMG, originally known as the International Management Group, is a global sports, other events and talent management company headquartered in New York City.
Owned by WME.
In 2004 Forstmann Little led by Theodore J. Forstmann acquired the company; Forstmann served as chairman and CEO until his death in late 2011.
Forstmann had German and Italian ancestry.
(must be clan of berg with that name)
MSD Capital is the investment vehicle owned and controlled by Michael Dell and his family.
Michael Dell was born in 1965 in Houston, to a Jewish family whose surname reflects the translation into English of the original German/Yiddish Thal (“valley” or “dale [q.v.]”; modern common-noun spelling Tal) upon the family’s immigration to the United States.
Michael Saul Dell (born February 23, 1965) is an American business magnate, investor, philanthropist, and author. He is the founder and CEO of Dell Inc., one of the world’s leading sellers of personal computers (PCs). He was ranked the 41st richest person in the world on 2012 Forbes list of billionaires, with a net worth of US$22.4 billion as of December 2014.
“Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the sport of mixed martial arts or ‘cage fighting’, is about to become far more corporate.”
one group controls this money making bonanza..can you guess which one?..i have left hints.. 🙂