Discover Who Owns UFC: Get the Latest Ownership Insight

The ownership of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has undergone significant changes over the years, and in this article, we delve into the current ownership structure and recent developments of the highly popular mixed martial arts organization.

Key Takeaways:

  • Dana White is the current president of the UFC, but he does not own the organization.
  • Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta acquired the UFC in 2001 for $2 million.
  • In 2016, the UFC was sold to a consortium led by WME-IMG for over $4 billion.
  • Endeavor Group Holdings is the current majority owner of the UFC, holding a 50.1% stake.
  • Other notable shareholders include Silver Lake PartnersKohlberg Kravis Roberts, and MSD Capital.
  • Dana White’s leadership and strategic partnerships have played a crucial role in the UFC’s success.
  • The recent ESPN deal has significantly impacted the UFC’s growth and visibility.

Table of Contents

The UFC has seen a remarkable journey since its inception, and understanding its ownership structure is crucial to comprehending its evolution and current position in the world of combat sports. From the original acquisition by the Fertitta brothers to the recent ownership change to Endeavor Group Holdings, each transition has brought new opportunities and challenges for the UFC. Throughout it all, Dana White has been a driving force behind the organization’s success, forging strategic partnerships and leading the UFC to new heights.

In the following sections, we will explore the historical background of the Fertitta brothers’ acquisition, Dana White’s influential role as president, and the significant ownership change to the WME-IMG consortium. We will also delve into the current ownership structure, highlighting Endeavor Group Holdings as the majority owner, and discuss other notable shareholders involved. Additionally, we will explore the strategic partnerships that have fueled the UFC’s success and examine recent developments, including the game-changing deal with ESPN.

Join us on this journey as we uncover the ownership insights of the UFC and gain a deeper understanding of the forces that have shaped it into the global phenomenon it is today.

Historical Background: The Fertitta Brothers’ Acquisition

The journey of the UFC’s ownership began in 2001 when the Fertitta brothers, Lorenzo and Frank, purchased the organization for $2 million, marking the start of their influential role in shaping the promotion. The Fertitta brothers had a vision to revitalize and legitimize mixed martial arts (MMA) by implementing stricter rules, enhancing production value, and attracting top talent. Their acquisition of the UFC was a pivotal moment in the sport’s history.

The Fertitta brothers wasted no time in making significant changes to the UFC. They brought in Dana White as the president, recognizing his passion for the sport and his ability to navigate the complex landscape of MMA. White played a crucial role in driving the UFC’s success and transforming it into a global phenomenon.

Under the Fertitta brothers’ ownership, the UFC slowly gained momentum and began to attract a dedicated fan base. With their deep pockets and strategic investments, they were able to secure major television deals and sponsorships, expanding the reach of the UFC beyond hardcore fans. Their commitment to nurturing and promoting talented fighters also helped to elevate the sport’s profile.

Dana White: The Driving Force Behind UFC’s Success

While Dana White may not own the UFC, his leadership as the president has been instrumental in transforming the organization into the global phenomenon it is today. Under his guidance, the UFC has evolved from a niche sport into a mainstream sensation, capturing the hearts and minds of millions of fans worldwide.

White’s unwavering passion for mixed martial arts (MMA) and his relentless drive to make the UFC a success have been key factors in its growth. His hands-on approach and ability to connect with fighters, fans, and media have solidified his position as the face of the organization. As White once said, “I’m the fight business, man. I don’t do anything else but the fight business.”

Throughout his tenure, White has been a master of strategic partnerships that have propelled the UFC to new heights. One of the most significant milestones was the groundbreaking deal with ESPN, which provided the promotion unprecedented exposure and access to a broader audience. This partnership opened doors to new opportunities and cemented the UFC’s position as a global powerhouse in combat sports.

White’s impact extends beyond the octagon, as he has played an essential role in expanding the UFC brand beyond traditional MMA events. He has overseen the successful launch of various ventures, including the UFC Performance Institute, which provides state-of-the-art training facilities and resources for fighters. Additionally, his business acumen has led to successful ventures in areas such as entertainment, apparel, and digital media.

Key Contributions of Dana White
Transformation of the UFC into a global phenomenon
Establishment of strategic partnerships, including the ESPN deal
Expansion of the UFC brand and ventures beyond MMA events

Major Ownership Change: WME-IMG Consortium

In a groundbreaking deal in 2016, the UFC underwent a major ownership change as it was acquired by a consortium of investors led by WME-IMG, leading to substantial shifts in the organization’s direction.

This acquisition positioned the UFC as a global sports powerhouse, bringing together the expertise of the WME-IMG consortium, which consists of major players in the entertainment industry. WME-IMG is a leading talent agency and media company, renowned for its representation of high-profile athletes and celebrities.

With this ownership change, the UFC gained access to an extensive network and resources, opening up new opportunities for growth and expansion. The consortium’s involvement brought financial stability and strategic guidance to the MMA promotion, allowing it to elevate its brand and reach a wider audience.

Under the ownership of the WME-IMG consortium, the UFC has continued to thrive, securing lucrative partnerships, such as the landmark broadcasting deal with ESPN. This collaboration has significantly increased the visibility of the UFC, making it more accessible to fans worldwide and driving its global popularity to new heights.

Ownership Change:WME-IMG Consortium
Acquisition Price:Over $4 billion
Key Investors:WME-IMG, Silver Lake PartnersKohlberg Kravis RobertsMSD Capital

Current Majority Owner: Endeavor Group Holdings

With a 50.1% stake, Endeavor Group Holdings assumes the role of the current majority owner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), exerting significant influence over its operations and strategic decisions. Endeavor is a global entertainment, sports, and content company that prides itself on its diverse portfolio and industry expertise.

Endeavor’s acquisition of the UFC in 2016 marked a major turning point for the organization. With their deep pockets and extensive network, Endeavor has been instrumental in expanding the UFC’s reach and amplifying its brand to a worldwide audience.

Under Endeavor’s ownership, the UFC has continued to thrive, securing lucrative partnerships and forging strategic alliances. Through their collaboration with ESPN, the UFC has gained unprecedented exposure and access to millions of fans through ESPN’s broad media platforms.

In addition to Endeavor Group Holdings, the UFC also has other prominent shareholders, including Silver Lake PartnersKohlberg Kravis Roberts, and MSD Capital. These investors contribute both financial resources and valuable industry experience to further strengthen the UFC’s position as the leading mixed martial arts promotion.

Current OwnershipOwnership Stake
Endeavor Group Holdings50.1%
Silver Lake Partners31.0%
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts8.0%
MSD Capital10.9%

While Dana White, the UFC’s president, is not the owner, his leadership and vision have played a pivotal role in the organization’s success. Through his tireless efforts, White has helped transform the UFC into a global phenomenon, consistently delivering exciting fights and captivating storylines that keep fans hooked.

It’s important to note that despite Endeavor Group Holdings being the majority owner, Dana White’s influence cannot be underestimated. His entrepreneurial spirit, business acumen, and passion for the sport continue to propel the UFC to new heights, ensuring its position as the premier MMA promotion in the world.

Other Shareholders: Silver Lake Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and MSD Capital

Apart from Endeavor Group Holdings, the UFC boasts a diverse group of shareholders, including prominent entities like Silver Lake Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and MSD Capital. These companies have made significant investments in the UFC, further solidifying its position as a global sports powerhouse.

Silver Lake Partners, a leading technology investment firm, has been involved with the UFC since 2016 when the WME-IMG consortium acquired the organization. Known for their expertise in the technology sector, Silver Lake Partners brings valuable strategic insight to the table.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), a prominent private equity firm, has also secured a stake in the UFC. With a history of successful investments across various industries, KKR’s involvement highlights the widespread appeal and potential for growth in the combat sports market.

MSD Capital, the private investment firm of computer magnate Michael Dell, is another notable shareholder in the UFC. Known for their long-term investment approach, MSD Capital’s involvement signals confidence in the UFC’s continued success and potential for future growth.

Silver Lake PartnersLeading technology investment firm
Kohlberg Kravis RobertsProminent private equity firm
MSD CapitalPrivate investment firm of Michael Dell

These shareholders, along with Endeavor Group Holdings, contribute to the financial stability and strategic direction of the UFC. Their involvement demonstrates the widespread interest and confidence in the organization’s future prospects. With a diverse group of shareholders, the UFC has access to valuable resources and expertise that contribute to its ongoing success in the world of mixed martial arts.

Strategic Partnerships and Success: Dana White’s Influence

Through his visionary approach, Dana White has been able to secure strategic partnerships that have propelled the UFC to new heights of success, solidifying its position as the leading MMA promotion. White’s ability to forge key alliances with various entities has not only boosted the UFC’s brand, but also opened up avenues for growth and profitability.

One of the most notable strategic partnerships that White orchestrated was the groundbreaking deal with ESPN. In 2019, the UFC signed a multi-year contract with the sports media giant, making ESPN the exclusive broadcaster of UFC events in the United States. This partnership not only brought unprecedented exposure to the UFC, but also provided fans with increased access to live fights and comprehensive coverage across various ESPN platforms.

White’s influence and negotiation skills have also led to fruitful collaborations with major sponsors and brands. For instance, the UFC has secured lucrative endorsement deals with companies like Reebok and Harley-Davidson, further enhancing its visibility and generating substantial revenue streams. Additionally, through White’s strategic alliances, the UFC has been able to expand its global reach, tapping into new markets and attracting a wider international audience.

Key Strategic PartnershipsImpact on UFC
ESPNIncreased exposure and accessibility for fans
ReebokEnhanced brand visibility and revenue generation
Harley-DavidsonExpanding fan base and attracting new demographics

White’s ability to foster relationships with key figures in the entertainment industry, professional sports, and other sectors has also been instrumental in elevating the UFC’s status. This has resulted in cross-promotional opportunities, collaborations with high-profile athletes, and even appearances in blockbuster movies and television shows. Through these strategic partnerships, the UFC has solidified its position as a global brand and has expanded its influence beyond the world of mixed martial arts.

In conclusion, Dana White’s visionary approach and knack for securing strategic partnerships have been integral to the UFC’s success. By aligning with major media outlets, attracting top sponsors, and forging connections with influential figures, White has elevated the UFC’s profile and brought the organization to new levels of global recognition. The strategic partnerships he has established continue to drive the UFC’s growth and shape its future as the leading MMA promotion.

Recent Developments: ESPN Deal and Beyond

Among the recent developments that have turned heads in the MMA world is the groundbreaking partnership between the UFC and ESPN, showcasing the organization’s increasing prominence and commercial appeal. This landmark deal, which was announced in 2018, solidified ESPN as the exclusive broadcaster of UFC events in the United States. It marked a significant shift in the landscape of MMA broadcasting and opened up new opportunities for both the UFC and ESPN.

With this partnership, the UFC gained access to a wider audience through ESPN’s vast network and platforms, including ESPN+ and traditional cable television. This enhanced exposure has not only increased the visibility of the sport but also boosted the UFC’s revenue streams. The ESPN deal has provided a platform for the UFC to reach millions of viewers and expand their fan base, elevating the organization’s status as a global powerhouse in mixed martial arts.

Furthermore, the collaboration with ESPN has allowed the UFC to tap into the extensive resources and expertise of one of the world’s leading sports media companies. This has enabled the organization to enhance its production quality, storytelling capabilities, and overall fan experience. From in-depth pre-fight analysis to innovative content formats, the UFC has leveraged ESPN’s platform to deliver a more comprehensive and engaging viewing experience to MMA fans worldwide.

Benefits of the UFC-ESPN PartnershipImpact on the MMA Industry
Increased exposure and visibility for the UFCHeightened interest in MMA among mainstream sports fans
Expanded revenue streams for the UFCIncreased competition and investment in the MMA market
Enhanced production quality and storytelling capabilitiesImproved fan experience and engagement

The partnership between the UFC and ESPN represents a significant milestone in the evolution of the sport and further solidifies the UFC’s position as a global leader in MMA. It not only provides the UFC with a platform to reach a wider audience but also opens up new avenues for growth and innovation within the organization. As the sport continues to evolve and capture the attention of fans around the world, the UFC-ESPN partnership will undoubtedly play a vital role in shaping the future of mixed martial arts.


The ownership landscape of the UFC has evolved over time, with the Fertitta brothers’ initial acquisition, the transformative WME-IMG consortium takeover, and the current majority ownership by Endeavor Group Holdings, all under the guidance of Dana White’s leadership.

Although Dana White is not the owner of the UFC, he has played a crucial role in its growth and success as the organization’s president and a minority shareholder. White’s appointment as president came after Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta purchased the UFC back in 2001 for $2 million. Since then, he has been instrumental in shaping the UFC into the premier MMA promotion it is today.

In 2016, the ownership of the UFC underwent a major change when it was sold to a consortium of investors led by WME-IMG. The deal, valued at over $4 billion, marked a significant milestone in the UFC’s history and propelled it to new heights.

Currently, Endeavor Group Holdings is the majority owner of the UFC, holding a 50.1% stake in the organization. Alongside Endeavor, other notable shareholders in the UFC include Silver Lake Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and MSD Capital. These stakeholders contribute to the strategic direction and financial stability of the UFC.

Through strategic partnerships and deals, such as the landmark agreement with ESPN, Dana White has fostered the UFC’s success and expanded its reach into mainstream media. The UFC’s partnership with ESPN has provided broader exposure for the sport and opened up new opportunities for growth.

In conclusion, while Dana White may not technically own the UFC, his leadership and influence have been paramount in shaping the organization’s journey. From the Fertitta brothers’ acquisition to the WME-IMG consortium takeover and the current ownership by Endeavor Group Holdings, the UFC has come a long way under White’s guidance, securing its position as the top MMA promotion in the world.

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