Three months after the UFC’s acquisition by entertainment powerhouse WME-IMG, layoffs are headed to the industry-leading fight promotion.
An industry source confirmed to MMAjunkie that the layoffs amount to ‘under 15 percent’ of the UFC’s total staff, which is estimated to be around 400 employees worldwide.
The source requested anonymity because the information has not yet been announced by the company.
The UFC is based in Las Vegas, where it broke ground this past December on a new corporate headquarters, and has offices in Los Angeles, Toronto, London, Sao Paulo and Singapore. The sources said WME-IMG has no plans to close any international offices.
Layoffs will come in multiple departments, including sponsorships, licensing, public relations and production, though there are no immediate plans to reduce the UFC’s event schedule. Part of WME-IMG’s plan upon acquiring the promotion was to utilize its expertise in live event production, an additional source said.
After the deal closed in July, the new corporate parent began evaluating the UFC’s business operations and looking for positions that could be trimmed, a standard practice in corporate acquisitions.
The UFC’s $4 billion sale was financed by private-equity firms Silver Lake and KKR & Co., with WME-IMG borrowing $1.8 billion to close the deal, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. The promotion’s earnings increased from $170 million to $300 million in separate offers to debt investors, allowing WME to borrow more money without exceeding regulatory guidelines.
Over the past three weeks, multiple senior executives have departed the UFC, including longtime UFC matchmaker Joe Silva and Giovanni Decker, vice president and general manager in Brazil. This past week, Dave Sholler, vice president of public relations, athlete marketing and development, announced he is leaving the company to take a job in the communications department for the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers.
MMAjunkie will continue to provide updates on this story as they become available.
WME-IMG to lay off ‘under 15 percent’ of UFC’s total staff – MMAjunkie.com