Who owns the UFC?

Photo illustration Ultimate Fighting Championship logo.
Photo illustration Ultimate Fighting Championship logo. / SOPA Images/GettyImages

Who is the owner of the MMA promotion, UFC?

Many fans just getting into mixed martial arts and the UFC find themselves wondering: who exactly owns and bankrolls all of this insanity?

Thankfully, the answer is fairly straightforward. While many fans may assume Dana White owns the UFC, the world’s leading MMA promotion is actually owned in full by mega corporation Endeavor, formerly known as WME-IMG.

Originally purchased by the Fertitta brothers and owned by Zuffa in 2001 for just two million dollars, the Fertitta brothers sold their majority stake to Endeavor in 2016 for just over four billion dollars, a cool 2000 percent return on their initial investment.  Following their acquisition of a controlling stake in the UFC (50.1 percent equity), Endeavor had no intention of resting on their laurels, and allegedly their ownership of the UFC was a large part of their pitch to potential investors when exploring going public with an IPO.

Ari Emmanuel, the primary owner of Endeavor, is now the de facto owner of the UFC, though Endeavor has historically left most of the business decisions to UFC executives since coming on board in 2016. It should be noted however that Endeavor has a vested interest in keeping fighter revenue share low, as one of the potential issues investors identified in Endeavor’s IPO prospectus was the idea that eventually fighter pay would have to rise, cutting into the UFC and therefore Endeavor and their shareholder's bottom line.

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For the sake of fight fans, hopefully, Endeavor continues to take a laissez-faire approach to their UFC ownership (unless they are deciding to pay fighters more money, which would be pretty cool). While the future ownership of the world’s leading MMA promotion is up in the air, for now, the UFC is owned in 100 percent totality by Ari Emmanuel and Endeavor for better or worse.