The UFC, in the context of other sports organizations, is relatively new to the world, but it’s already made a name for itself. The UFC has been around for about 27 years, and many things have changed since the early days. Thanks to those changes and the hard work of Dana White, the UFC is now easily worth billions of dollars.
The fights that made the UFC what it is today
The UFC has actually had many fights that have changed things for the organization, but there are a few that stand out when it comes to how much the UFC is worth.
While most UFC fights aren’t on pay-per-view, the biggest fights are, and that’s typically how the UFC makes its money. As a result, fights that generate a lot of pay-per-view sales are a critical component of the UFC’s profitability.
That’s what made 2015 and 2016 such great years for the UFC. The UFC had two fighters who were both capable of selling over a million pay-per-views. This is very rare for the UFC, so the fact that both Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey were so popular really helped the UFC make a lot of money. McGregor’s fight against Nate Diaz and Rousey’s fight against Holly Holm both sold over a million pay-per-views, for example.
The UFC sells for $4 billion
Those highly-profitable fights undoubtedly helped boost the UFC’s value, and as a result, in late 2016, the UFC was sold for $4 billion, according to EssentiallySports.
Endeavor was the company that ultimately won the bid for the UFC, and the UFC’s president, Dana White, got a pretty great compensation package for the sale. It’s not clear how big his stake in the UFC is anymore, but White is worth a lot of money regardless.
However, this purchase didn’t really pan out too well for Endeavor. Some of the UFC’s biggest stars, such as McGregor and Rousey, started fighting less and less, and in Rousey’s case, she retired from the sport in 2017.
If the UFC’s biggest stars don’t fight, then the UFC and Endeavor makes less money. That’s why the UFC started trying to build new stars, such as Jorge Masvidal and Khabib Nurmagomedov, and to an extent, it’s worked.
Additionally, according to SportBusiness, the UFC also signed a lucrative exclusivity deal with ESPN. SportBusiness wrote that if the UFC makes at least 42 events in 2020, then it’ll earn $600 million from guaranteed media rights, with $500 million coming from ESPN directly.
Unfortunately for the UFC and Endeavor, COVID-19 put a halt to many events. Regardless, SportBusiness said that the UFC was in a bind, since if it didn’t host those events, then it wouldn’t get those hundreds of millions in media rights income. That’s partially why the UFC has continued hosting events during the pandemic.
How much is the UFC worth today?
That rocky deal with ESPN, as well as the loss of some of the UFC’s biggest stars haven’t hurt the company’s net worth, however. Forbes reported that White said that, in part thanks to the ESPN deal, the UFC is now worth about $7 billion. White said that back in 2018, and it’s entirely possible that the UFC is worth even more nowadays.
But since the UFC and Endeavor are private companies, there isn’t a clear picture of how much the UFC is currently worth. However, when compared to the NFL or the NBA, the UFC is still extremely young, and it still has a lot of room to grow.
The fact that Nurmagomedov and Masvidal are very popular fighters show that the UFC doesn’t need to rely on McGregor to make money. It also shows that the UFC’s financial future is probably in good hands.