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UFC lays an egg in 2014, forces Standard & Poor's to downgrade ZUFFA credit rating

But also expects 2015 to be a recovery year for the world's largest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion.

Michael Cohen

Yin and Yang.

Not long after Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was named one of the "World's Most Valuable Sports Brands," under the leadership of "Brand Genius" (and UFC President) Dana White, the promotion took a stiff jab from Standard & Poor's, who downgraded the ZUFFA LLC credit rating from "BB" to "BB-" due to "greater EBITDA volatility" following a rough 2014.

MMA Payout has some perspective:

In its overview, S&P concluded that Zuffa "will experience a 30% decline in EBITDA (Earnings Before Income Tax, Depreciation and Amortization) in 2014 and greater EBITDA volatility over time than we previously had anticipated." The report identifies ZUFFA having $535 million in credit with $60 million in "senior secured revolving credit facility due 2018 and a $475 million senior secured term loan due 2020."

Injuriescancellationshiatuses ... hardly a banner year for the guys (and gals) in Vegas.

The good news is, S&P also expects UFC to rebound in 2015 as sidelined stars return to action. In addition, the promotion will continue to expand its footprint overseas and generate more international income. ZUFFA was also downgraded to BB- in 2007, but quickly righted the ship and sailed on.

Like most industries, this business is likely cyclical in nature, and I don't think anyone in the UFC front office is panicking when you consider the bigger picture.

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