Who Owns the UFC? A Complete List Of Its Former & Current Owners

Big bucks in the world's biggest fighting promotion.

Who Owns the UFC? A Complete List Of Its Former & Current Owners

Image: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

The UFC is the premier mixed martial arts promotion on the planet and because of its incredible popularity, it has changed ownership hands several times since its inception.

The UFC traces its roots to the early 90s when former car salesman Art Davie pulled off the first mixed martial arts event called UFC 1 at Denver’s McNichols Sports Arena on November 12, 1993. Since then, its popularity has exponentially grown and the sport has gone from almost being outlawed into one of the biggest sporting competitions in the world.

RELATED: How Much Do UFC Fighters Get Paid? Revealing The Eye-Watering Earnings In MMA

Davie pulled off four more events after UFC 1 but with the constant media backlash calling it ‘human cockfighting’, Davie ended up selling his brainchild to Semaphore Entertainment Group after UFC 5. Semaphore operated the promotion until 2001 when nearing bankruptcy, it sold the company to the Fertitta brothers and their business partner Dana White for $2 million USD (~3 million AUD) in 2001.

It was under Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta’s ownership and Dana White’s stewardship that the UFC finally gained mainstream media coverage. And after the likes of Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz made it a global phenomenon, it was fighters like Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey who took it to the next level.

With the UFC at the top of its game, the Ferttita brothers’ Zuffa company sold the majority of the promotion in 2016 to a group led by the company then known as William Morris Endeavor for a staggering $4 billion USD (~$6.037 billion AUD). In 2021, Endeavor bought out Zuffa’s remaining shares in the company at a valuation of $1.75 billion USD ( ~$2.64 billion AUD).

Image: Getty

Then last year, Endeavor entered into a historic merger with professional wrestling’s World Wrestling Entertainment. The merged company is called TKO Group Holdings and was initially valued at $21.4 billion when it began trading on the New York Stock Exchange last September.

TKO is 51% owned by Endeavor and 49% by the WWE shareholders. Endeavor’s Chief Executive Ari Emmanuel is at the helm of the new company. Meanwhile, UFC President Dana White is its Chief Executive while WWE founder Vince McMahon is the Executive Chairman.

“The creation of TKO marks an exciting new chapter for UFC and WWE as leaders in global sports and entertainment,” Emanuel said in a statement. “Given their continued connectivity to the Endeavor network, we are confident in our ability to accelerate their respective growth and unlock long-term sustainable value for shareholders.”

Today, the UFC holds more than 40 live events per year, including shows in Abu Dhabi, Australia, Brazil, China England, Germany, Ireland, and Singapore. On June 22, 2024, it will produce its first-ever show in Saudi Arabia. Currently, the UFC is broadcast in more than 149 countries in 30 different languages.