The last couple of years have been huge for the UFC; interest has been higher than ever, and it comes as no surprise that Zuffa sold the organisation for a staggering $4 billion to a group led by WME-IMG.
It’s crazy to see how far they have come, from the days of having only five weight classes to boasting the largest and best roster of fighters from all over the planet, and it’ll continue to get bigger.
The rapid growth has seen newer stars emerge.
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The days of Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre running their rule look to have ended, with Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey, Demetrious Johnson, Joanna Jedrzejczyk and many more continuing to draw in current and new fans.
With this interest, UFC seems to be going mainstream as 23 celebrities have joined UFC’s ownership group, ranging from the world of sport to Hollywood.
These include Abel ‘The Weeknd’ Tesfaye, Adam Levine of Maroon 5, actors Ben Affleck, Mark Wahlberg, Tyler Perry, Sylvester Stallone and LL Cool J.
Calvin Harris is also on board, as are Jimmy Kimmel and Conan O’Brien.
Anthony Kiedis and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers have invested, as have Rob Dyrdek, Michael Bay, Guy Fieri, South Park creator, Trey Parker, along with Tom Brady, Robert Kraft, Cam Newton, Li Na, Maria Sharapova and Serena and Venus Williams.
In a statement released by the company on Friday, president Dana White said: “Expanding our ownership group to include this calibre of talent and entrepreneurs is a strong indicator of UFC’s fast-growing global presence.
“Our new investors bring an incredible depth of knowledge and experience to help up continue to elevate this brand and capitalise on its entertainment and sports crossover appeal.”
This move could see UFC fighters spread their wings to try different forms of entertainment, as we’ve seen with McGregor in the new Call of Duty video game, and Rousey involved in various film projects.
ESPN’s Darren Rovell has also confirmed that the celebrities had to invest a minimum of $250,000 as part of their ownership stakes.
Which celebrity are you most surprised by? Have YOUR say in the comments section below.