New UFC ownership includes 23 celebrity investors, such as Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams

By SI Wire
September 30, 2016

Nearly two dozen celebrities, including New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, along with tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova are some of the new investors in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, WME-IMG announced.

WME-IMG is the majority owner of the UFC since buying the property for $4 billion in July.

Other celebrity investors include actors Ben Affleck, Mark Wahlberg, and Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.

None of the celebrity investments were disclosed in the announcement, but some of the investors are clients of WME-IMG.

Ari Emanuel, co-chief executive of WME-IMG, says the UFC is no longer a niche sport.

"They would always ask for tickets,” Emanuel said to the Wall Street Journal. “I think it’s a mainstream sport now."

According to the Journal, the talent agency wants to add more programming on the UFC’s digital subscription service, and wants to see more UFC fighters appear in other forms of entertainment, such as movies.

The next UFC pay-per-view is UFC 204, which will take place Oct. 8 in Manchester, England.

- Scooby Axson

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