Over the last two decades, the UFC’s value jumped from $2 million to approximately $9-10 billion, which is an increase of around 500 000%, if you can grasp that.
The question is, who owns UFC, earning that kind of money from it?
The Endeavor group via Zuffa, LLC owns 50.1% of UFC, making them the key decision-makers. The remaining 49.9% are dispersed between Silver Lake Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and MSD Capital.
Although most people think that Dana White is the owner of the UFC, he’s only its president, having an undisclosed percentage of the business.
However, Endeavor plans on buying out the entire company soon, claiming 100% of the ownership.
Is Dana White the Owner of the UFC?
A lot of people think that Dana White is the owner of the UFC.
However, he was never the owner of the company. Since 2001, when the Fertitta brothers bought the UFC, he serves as the company’s president.
That doesn’t mean he is the owner, though. He is in charge of all the operations, though.
That means he’s the one making fights happen, scouting for talent, making sponsorship deals, deciding where to invest, finding venues, cooperating with Athletic Commissions, and all the other business-related activities inside the promotion.
Before 2016, when the Fertitta brothers sold the company to Endeavor, White had a 9% ownership.
The company was sold for just over $4 billion, meaning that white earned around $360 million from the deal.
The best part for White, though, is that he was kept at his position as the UFC president, and the new deal gave him ownership rights in the company.
However, the percentage was non-disclosed, so we don’t know how much of the UFC is currently in White’s hands.
While he earns money as a part-owner (a small percentage of the company stocks), he also earns as the president, meaning he’s still getting a nice chunk of the profits the company is making.
And, because the UFC is the biggest income-maker for the Endeavor group, and the fact that it’s still one of the fastest-rising sports franchises globally, one can only assume that White is getting paid incredibly well.
Who Owns UFC?
The majority owner of the UFC today is Endeavor, having 50.1% of ownership.
Endeavor is a Hollywood entertainment company investing in various businesses across the entertainment industry. However, since they bought the UFC, it’s by far their biggest income creator.
That was only furthermore enhanced after the coronavirus pandemic destroyed a lot of their other businesses, making them lose money.
Before the pandemic, UFC accounted for 50% of Endeavor’s income, while the pandemic increased that number to around 80%.
The UFC is one of the few companies in the world (especially in the entertainment and sports industry) that hasn’t been highly affected by the pandemic.
They had a two-month break when the global pandemic started but quickly adjusted and continued holding events almost every weekend, just like they did before the virus outbreak.
The Endeavor Group Holdings, formerly known as WME-IMG, bought a majority stake of Zuffa, LLC, the UFC’s parent company, from the Fertitta brothers for a bit more than $4 billion.
They are now the majority owners, sharing ownership rights with Silver Lake Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and MSD Capital.
It is believed that the company is worth around double the amount that Endeavor and partners paid in 2016. However, the exact net worth hasn’t been disclosed.
Also, the ownership percentages might soon change due to an agreement reached on February 16th, 2021, but we’ll get into that a bit later.
How Much Money Is the UFC Worth?
As I stated before, the UFC is one of the fastest-rising franchises globally, with its values exponentially growing year after year.
So, how much money is it really worth? The best way to find out is by looking at its ownership history.
In 2001, the Fertitta brothers bought the company for around $2 million.
The company was fighting for survival then, as it wasn’t really popular in the world of combat sports.
They lacked star power and proper management, but as the Fertitta brothers took over with Dana White serving as the president, the popularity just kept on rising.
Fast forward fifteen years, the Fertitta brothers decided to sell the company. They sold it to the Endeavor Group Holdings for $4.025 billion, a value increase of approximately 200 000%.
From that moment moving forward, the UFC is reaching new heights every year, increasing in popularity, ultimately leading to a huge increase in value.
They made some incredible deals, such as transitioning from FOX to ESPN, developing the UFC Fight Pass (monthly subscription to their events), and more.
While the exact value isn’t fully disclosed, the company is worth somewhere in the $7-10 billion range. The fluctuations are high because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Still, if the existing trends continue, UFC can lead mixed martial arts towards becoming the most popular combat sport in the world.
It’s a dead race between boxing and MMA right now, but the gap is closing quickly because boxing’s popularity is stagnant over the last few years, while the UFC and MMA keep growing.
Boxing is still the most popular combat sport, selling the most PPVs, but we could see that change sooner rather than later.
How Did Dana White Become the UFC president?
Dana White is the face of the UFC for two decades now.
He is undoubtedly one of the main reasons the company enjoys such exponential growth in popularity and value.
But, how exactly did he become the UFC president?
White entered the world of martial arts when he was 17 when he started training in boxing.
Some financial troubles made him move to Las Vegas, where his career really started to blossom.
While he was still an active fighter, he made real noise as a manager.
When he heard that the UFC was going for sale in 2001, he saw it as a huge opportunity.
He called his childhood friends, the Fertitta brothers, and proposed going into the business together.
They eventually bought UFC for $2 million and put Dana White as the president of the company.
He also received a 9% share of the ownership, while the brothers had around 80%.
Dana is responsible for the creation of some of the first global MMA stars.
He was the manager for several big names in the sport, most notably the UFC champions Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz.
Obviously, White did an amazing job as the company president because the UFC was sold in 2016, but the new owners still kept Dana as their president.
It’s unlikely to see a change in that position any time soon because the company is still growing despite all the economic difficulties the entire entertainment industry found itself in during the coronavirus pandemic.
While we don’t know exactly how much ownership White has in the company, it’s almost certain he has a nice chunk of the profits to his name.
He had 9% ownership when the Fertitta brothers were the owners, and that number today is probably about the same.
UFC Ownership Percentages
The ownership distribution within the promotion isn’t fully disclosed to the public, but some facts are known.
The owner of the UFC is Endeavor Group Holding that has a 50.1% market share.
The remaining 49.9% is divided between Silver Lake Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and MSD Capital via Zuffa, LLC, along with minor stockholders.
We don’t know how big of a percentage Dana White has, but the entire situation could change very soon.
According to an SEC filing, the company reached an agreement on February 16, 2021, that will make Endeavor a 100% owner in the near future. 
The company plans on going public via an initial public offering (IPO).
A similar agreement was in place in 2019, but it never came to fruition because Endeavor pulled back last-minute due to the lack of investor demand at the time.
The agreement reached in February 2021, per the SEC filing, suggests that Endeavor has to raise at least $1.75 billion to buy out the remainder of the ownership percentage of the UFC, making them 100% owners.
It’s unknown if White would retain a percentage of the ownership in that case.
If Endeavor fails to raise that much money from the IPO and yet again doesn’t go public, the agreement won’t go through.
However, it’s a very unlikely scenario this time because the same SEC filing reported that one of the biggest business moguls in the world, Elon Musk, joined Endeavor’s board of directors.
It’s unclear what a 100% Endeavor ownership would mean for the UFC, but the fans likely won’t know the difference, and the company will just keep on rising, as it has over the last two decades.