Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) just went Hollywood, which is akin to the day TapouT t-shirts started hanging from the clothing racks at Walmart.
Weep with me.
Wall Street Journal confirmed that WME-IMG, the financial conglomerate responsible for the $4 billion purchase of the world’s leading mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion earlier this year, has farmed out pieces of the business to some of its celebrity clients.
That list includes Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye, Adam Levine, Anthony Kiedis, Ben Affleck, Calvin Harris, Cam Newton, Conan O’Brien, Flea, Guy Fieri, Jimmy Kimmel, Li Na, LL COOL J, Maria Sharapova, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Bay, Rob Dyrdek, Robert Kraft, Serena Williams, Sylvester Stallone, Tom Brady, Trey Parker, Tyler Perry and Venus Williams.
In buying the UFC, WME-IMG let celebrities buy small shares with a minimum investment of $250,000. Here's the list pic.twitter.com/3whha8eOPe— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 30, 2016
“Expanding our ownership group to include this caliber of talent and entrepreneurs is a strong indicator of UFC’s fast-growing global presence,” UFC President Dana White said in today’s release. “Our new investors bring an incredible depth of knowledge and experience to help us continue to elevate this brand and capitalize on its entertainment and sports crossover appeal.”
That means a wider mainstream reach for the combat sports organization, which at one time was considered a pimple on the back of the sports world. While Hollywood and the music business are coming to UFC, the partnership is expected to work both ways, bringing MMA stars into more prominent roles (like this one).
For much more on the UFC sale to WME-IMG click here.