As mixed martial arts, particularly the UFC, continues to surge in popularity towards becoming a mainstream sport, more and more celebrities are getting involved in all the hoopla. From Hollywood movie stars to talk show hosts, the UFC has attracted its fair share of tinseltown personalities.
Whereas the sport of boxing enjoyed the same kind of popularity in its heyday, the UFC is now taking its mantle in the absence of big time boxing stars following the retirement of two of the sport’s biggest draws in Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
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Although Pacquiao is scheduled to return to boxing this November, he no longer commands top dollar as evidenced by HBO’s snub of the Filipino ring icon. The UFC on the other hand has bankable stars like Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey leading the way.
At the helm, UFC President Dana White is making all the right moves and capitalizing on MMA’s rapidly increasing popularity. That’s why it comes as no surprise that on a recent episode of Conan, the talk show host proudly announced that he had purchased a stake in the UFC.
If fans may recall, the UFC’s former owners, brothers Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta had sold the promotion to investment firm WME-IMG for a whopping USD $4-billion. As part of their investment strategy, WME-IMG offered minor stakes in the UFC to other investors.
O’Brien revealed he was one of the select few to purchase a part of the UFC.
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“One of the biggest transactions in the history of sports,” O’Brien said of the UFC/WME-IMG deal.
O’Brien mentions that he just so happens to be represented by WME, which explains how he was able to come about the offer.
“Thanks to [WME] I am the new spokesman for the Blackberry, and Sea World,” O’Brien joked.
Moving onto a more serious note, O’Brien went on to explain the deal further.