Name a celebrity in America and there’s a good chance they have an ownership stake in the UFC.
You might recall that the UFC sold for a record-breaking $4 billion earlier this year to WME-IMG. But what you may not know is that, because WME-IMG is a talent agency that represents an incredible amount of actors and athletes across the country, they offered some of their clients an opportunity to purchase a small part of the UFC. That’s exactly what Conan O’Brien announced on his show Thursday, when he revealed that he was one of the lucky few to get involved and he has about “forty dollars worth” in the company.
“I said yes, and so I now technically own a piece of the UFC,” O’Brien said. “I am now a part of a group of investors that includes Ben Affleck, Tom Brady, Mark Wahlberg, Adam Levine, Cam Newton, LL Cool J, Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, Sylvester Stallone, just to name a very few.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, the list of celebrities involved is actually 23 names deep with Venus Williams, Tyler Perry and Jimmy Kimmel also being included. And if you’re wondering how they went about choosing which celebrities would be asked to invest in the company, it was a rather simple process: Ari Emanuel, co-chief executive of WME-IMG, approached individuals he knew were fans of the sports because “they would always ask for tickets.”
As for what’s next for the UFC, WME-IMG reportedly hopes to add more programming to the UFC’s digital subscription service and wants to see more UFC fighters spread their wings by trying out other forms of entertainment. (Think Ronda Rousey in Furious 7.) Other than that, we can only wait and see.