The UFC has new owners — WME-IMG — and the group was able to save some money by involving all the high quality talent that it manages.
During Thursday night’s episode of “Conan” — host Conan O’Brien let it slip that a group of celebrity investors represented by WME-IMG have purchased a small stake in the UFC following the $4 billion sale of the company in July.
Twenty-three athletes and celebrities — including Tom Brady, Mark Wahlberg, Cam Newton, LL Cool J, Ben Affleck, Adam Levine and Serena and Venus Williams as well make up this new big named ownership group.
“After the UFC deal was announced, WME — William Morris Endeavor — gave some of their clients an opportunity to purchase a small ownership stake in the UFC. I’m excited to announce that I was one of those clients,” O’Brien announced on his show.
“I said yes and so now I technically own a piece of the UFC. I am now part of a group of investors that includes Ben Affleck, Tom Brady, Mark Wahlberg, Adam Levine, Cam Newton, LL Cool J, Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, Sylvester Stallone, just to name a very few.”
The list of celebrity investors also includes fellow talk show host Jimmy Kimmel as well as actor and director Tyler Perry.
“They would always ask for tickets,” WME-IMG co-CEO Ari Emanuel told the Wall Street Journal. ” I think it’s a mainstream sport now.”
The inclusion of the celebrity investors now solidifies the UFC as more than just a niche sport mostly supported by their hardcore fans.