UFC sends memo to fighters on sale: “You, the athletes, have always been the central focus of the promotion”

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Lorenzo Fertitta (photo credit Jayne Kamin-Oncea © USA Today Sports)

The UFC sent a memo to all fighters on their roster Monday morning following the organization’s sale to WME/IMG. The memo stresses that the fighters have been the “central focus of the promotion” and will continue to be under new management. Additionally, outside of Lorenzo Fertitta stepping down from his role, the memo suggests the rest of the current executive team will be staying on in their current roles.

Read the UFC’s memo to fighters below:

Dear Athletes,

We are writing to personally advise you of a change to UFC. Renowned entertainment, sports and fashion giant WME | IMG has entered into an agreement to acquire UFC. Silver Lake Partners, KKR, MSD Capital, L.P. and MSD Partners, L.P. will join WME | IMG as new strategic investors. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.

From the moment Zuffa, LLC purchased UFC over 15 years ago, you, the athletes, have always been the central focus of the promotion. That will not change. WME | IMG, who has been involved with UFC for many years, is focused on the continued global expansion of mixed martial arts and committed to further promoting you on the global stage.

Upon closing of the deal, Lorenzo Fertitta will be stepping down as Chairman and CEO of the organization, however, Lorenzo and Frank will retain a minority ownership in terse in the business. UFC President Dana White will continue in his role and will also retain a minority ownership interest.

The organization’s leadership, a team of great executives hand-picked to help lead the business, will remain in place to carry on their work and continue to lead the team of dedicated employees who promote your careers as mixed martial arts athletes.

You remain a very important part of a highly driven, dedicated and motivated organization that will continue to deliver wold-class experience and opportunities for you as athletes and for the greatest fans in the world.

Thank you,

The Zuffa executive team.

Penick’s Analysis: It’s hard on the surface to see that this deal bodes well for the fighters as a group right now. This is a massive purchase for WME/IMG, and they’re going to want to recoup that investment via a profitable product eventually, which means a growth in fighter revenue is certainly far from a lock. It’s still really hard to know just what the makeup of the UFC is going to be two years from now when the new owners have fully taken hold of the reins, but it might be surprising if the fighters taking a bigger piece of the revenue is in the cards.

[Photo (c) Jayne Kamin-Oncea via USA Today Sports]

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2 Comments on UFC sends memo to fighters on sale: “You, the athletes, have always been the central focus of the promotion”

  1. Their central focus was on how to diminish them as a class as much as possible by reducing pay, eliminating human dignity, and fostering as much ill will as possible. Well done Zuffa, WELL DONE!

  2. I love how the letter states they “are writing to personally advise you of a change to UFC” yet address the letter to a generic “dear athlete”!!

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