In light of the financial success Endeavor Group Holdings has produced, CEO Ari Emanuel has come to the UFC’s defense.
The media and entertainment conglomerate attributes much of its recent progress to the acquisition of the UFC roughly five years ago. The UFC was sold to Endeavor for a hefty $4 billion price tag. Despite continued challenges brought on by a global pandemic, the entertainment entity went public for $24 per share at the end of April. By mid-August, following the latest quarterly earnings report, the company boasted about its thriving economic power.
Due to athletes suing the UFC, the company was forced to release details about their respective pay structure. It was revealed that the combat sports company is paying roughly 16%-18% of revenue to its athletes. However, most sporting companies are sharing revenue at a much higher clip in the range of nearly 50% in 2021.
After drawing attention to Conor McGregor making the #1-spot on the Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid athletes, CEO Emanuel defended the pay structure in an appearance at the Goldman-Sachs Communacopia conference.
“They just did a recent study of top-paying athletes. The number one athlete was a UFC fighter,” Emanuel said during the conference. Ari Emanuel said. “They’re making money on fight kits, paid marketing opportunities we’re creating for them with our sponsors, revenue for NFTs, and we’re investing money in a performance institute to rehabilitate them, [focus on their] diet, etc,”
Many have argued that McGregor’s wealth is a byproduct of his business ventures outside of the Octagon. Ari Emanuel insists the playing field has never been more ripe with opportunity. The Endeavor CEO is convinced that the UFC’s earnings next year will ascend to even greater heights as a growing number of streaming services continue their onslaught on the North American market.
What do you make of Ari Emanuel defending the UFC fighter pay structure?