Late-night talk show host Conan O’Brien’s name stood out when it appeared on a list of new investors in the UFC following Zuffa’s sale of the world’s leading MMA promotion.
The Fertitta brothers, who purchased the UFC back in 2001 for $2 million and sold it in July for a whopping $4 billion to WME-IMG, have now been replaced by a slew of celebrity investors, including Ben Affleck, Adam Levine, Maria Sharapova, Mark Wahlberg, Jimmy Kimmel, and the aforementioned Conan O’Brien, amongst others.
O’Brien filmed a sketch on his late-night show detailing the new deal:
“The thing is I’m actually represented by (WME-IMG), and these guys do a really terrific job,” Conan said during his show last week.
“After the UFC deal was announced, WME gave some of their clients the opportunity to buy a small ownership stake in the UFC, and I’m excited to announce I am one of those clients.”
“I think I own $40 worth (of the UFC)”, O’Brien joked. “I said yes so now technically I own a part of the UFC.”
O’Brien is represented by William Morris Endeavor, who in turn was one of several companies that collectively purchased the UFC from ZUFFA, which is the company owned by Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta III, who owned 40 percent each of the company, while UFC president Dana White owns 9 percent. Abu Dhabi-based Flash Entertainment owned the remaining 10 percent.
White has stayed on with the UFC despite the Fertitta brother’s departure.
Do you think that celebrity involvement with the UFC’s ownership is a good thing for the promotion? Could the deal help bring more attention to the sport? Sound off, PENN Nation!