Endeavor Group Holdings, Inc. recently released its third-quarter earnings for 2021 and atop the financial highlights is the “best nine-month, year-to-date period in UFC history,” which is one of the reasons the organization’s cash and cash equivalents have soared well past the $1 billion mark.
And to think they almost screwed the whole thing up.
“We continue to capitalize on the elevated demand for premium content and live events coming out of the pandemic,” Endeavor CEO Ariel Emanuel said (via MMA Fighting). “Given our unique positioning within the sports and entertainment industry and our ability to leverage powerful secular content trends, we see no signs of this momentum waning through the end of the year.”
Don’t break out the party hats just yet.
“U Fight Cheap,” former women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg wrote on Twitter. “More and more big names going to leave and be replaced with ‘Contender Series’ contracts.”
UFC is a brand, not a sport, and survives by creating brand (not fighter) loyalty. That’s why the promotion will continue to position itself as the star of the show, even at the expense of its own athletes. The means to that end is painting fighters as greedy, ungrateful brats.
Or “salty,” as one Twitter critic pointed out.
“It always blows my mind how fans want the UFC to make more money and the fighters to make less,” Cyborg fired back.
The Brazilian was critical of UFC fighter pay even while competing inside the Octagon and eventually earned her release back in summer 2019. What followed was a “record-breaking contract” with Bellator MMA and “Cyborg” has continued to encourage other UFC fighters to follow suit.