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Fertittas featured on cover of Forbes magazine

forbes_ufcUFC co-owners Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta are featured on the cover of the May 5th edition of Forbes magazine. The cover article is titled “Ultimate Cash Machine”. The article is a must read for any MMA fan, both hardcores and noobs alike. It details the financial success of the UFC, describes how the Fertitta brothers got involved in the casino business, and talks about how Frank and Lorenzo almost pulled their investment in 2004.

WATCH a Forbes video interview with the Fertitta’s.

Here is an excerpt on the UFC’s success today:

It’s the Ultimate Money Machine. That night before the Super Bowl 10,700 fans packed the arena, paying an average of $340 for a ticket to witness nine mixed martial arts fights. Another 500,000 fans paid $45 ($55 for high definition) to watch five of the nine fights at home. The total haul from the event: $25 million.

This year UFC is likely to generate $250 million, capturing perhaps 90% of mixed martial arts revenue. The majority of UFC revenues come from the monthly pay-per-view events. Additional cash is made from ticket sales to live fights and licensing fees from its Spike cable shows The Ultimate Fighter and UFC Fight Night . These shows in turn act as promotional tools to drive fans to pay-per-view events. More scratch comes from sales of DVDs and T shirts, as well as downloads from UFC’s library of past bouts.”

Quote from Dana White about the competition:

“White, who believes MMA will be a $1 billion (sales) industry within five years, has a different take: “I’m flattered that Frank, Lorenzo and I have made this business look so easy. But CBS doesn’t understand the fight business, and Mark Cuban doesn’t know anything about the fight business, either. All he’s concerned with is drawing subscribers to HDNet so he can sell out to Time Warner or Comcast.”

“Lorenzo Fertitta says the competition will ultimately redound to his company: “We are like football and the NFL. The sport of mixed martial arts is known by one name: UFC.”

Read the full article on Forbes.com
Check out more UFC content on Five Ounces of Pain

12 COMMENTS
  • matt says:

    The sport does need viable competition that will last for more than 5 years or you’ll have what the WWE is having, lack of competition means lack of interest. EliteXC is spending more than they are making and IFL is all but dead at this point. HDnet is a great outlet for fights but the lack of coverage for non Comcast customers means you aren’t reaching as far as you can. Even the UFC is in debt (most companies have a working debt). It’s pretty obvious that while MMA is starting to take off in the US, Japan has become stagnant for MMA with the first Dream show pulling poor ratings and new promotions starting up where there is a lack of good competition for fighters, and Europe is at this point hard to draw in cause of the lack of cultural acceptance.

    So as far as Dana saying MMA will be a billion dollar business, he needs atleast needs EXC to survive as a competitor.

  • GirlyGirl says:

    But Dana’s right. If you look at the four major sports (basketball, football, baseball and hockey), they have ZERO true competition and that are billion dollar industries. People identify MMA by UFC. You mention IFL or EXC to a casual sports fan and they have no clue what you’re talking about. Mention UFC and they nod and a lightbulb goes off. I have no doubt that UFC will be huge by the end of the decade.

  • Shaun says:

    glad their making money. but seriously fucking give the fighters that make all your money a better salary. how the fuck do you live off of 5 or 10 g’s every 3-4 months.

  • Zantetzuken says:

    True, pay the fighters more money please. I think a solid $25k is what should be given out and $100k+ for the top 10 and then $250 for the starts plus really hefty bonuses for knockouts and submissions that make the crowd roar.

  • GirlyGirl says:

    “glad their making money. but seriously fucking give the fighters that make all your money a better salary. how the fuck do you live off of 5 or 10 g’s every 3-4 months.”

    How about winning? Starnes didn’t even deserve 10K for that performance.

    Besides, when you’re at the bottom of the totem pole, you can’t expect to make what the names are making. You gotta work your way up just like everyone else.

  • jj says:

    working your way up is one thing, but some of these guys want to fight so bad that they end up getting screwed over with shitty contracts. some people are paying out of their pocket to fight once travel and injuries are paid for.

  • matt says:

    GirlyGirl, the sport of MMA is still considered a spectacle and not a true sport ala Basketball, Baseball, Football, so the comparison would be the WWE/WCW rivalry. Since there isn’t a viable competitor, the interest isn’t as high as it could be. Once it gets the acceptance of the NBA, NFL, MLB, yeah then it’ll be more than a billion dollar a year business.

    As for fighter pay, it has been reported that the UFC does pay for travel and injuries, and when a fighter is just breaking in with no sort of following or minimal at best, they aren’t going to be earning top dollar, also consider this. In boxing, Rickey Hatton was making 5k a fight until he won the title, then he started pulling money. Floyde Mayweather was making 50k to fight until recently. And undercard boxers earn either the same or less as undercard (non televised) UFC fighters.

  • Mike Wolfe says:

    What we have here is a lesson in applied economics. Plenty of guys are willing to fight for what UFC pays. Until the number of prospective fighters declines, the amount UFC pays is “fair.” If the number of prospective fighters declines, UFC will have increase the amount they pay or go out of business. The rise of orgs. who compete for the services of fighters will result in higher pay, since UFC will have to pay more to keep their fighters. If White is correct and MMA becomes a billion dollar per year business, there will be more orgs.

  • HexRei says:

    @#5
    How about winning? Starnes didn’t even deserve 10K for that performance.

    Besides, when you’re at the bottom of the totem pole, you can’t expect to make what the names are making. You gotta work your way up just like everyone else.

    If you’re in the UFC, you have most likely already “worked your way up”. The UFC doesn’t really accept newbies anymore, and they truly are the “superbowl of mma” today. Certainly there should be a wide spread of incomes within the UFC even but 5 or 10k a pop when you can only fight a 3-4 times a year is SILLY.

    Dana needs to either stop claiming they are the giant of MMA or start paying their fighters enough to at least live and train comfortably- yes, even those guys on the undercard.

  • HexRei says:

    And before you bring it up, yes, Brock Lesnar and Sean Gannon are exceptions, but there were very specific reasons in each case. Generally speaking most current UFC fighters have started in smaller orgs and fought their way up.

  • Kogepan says:

    hahah….they pull in 25 million per pay per view and the fighters gets 5k per fight.

    Thanks Dana + Fertititas! I hope your happy screwing over fighters in your diamond tipped shoes while snort cocaine of $1000 bills.

  • Fight Fan says:

    Nobody will read this because its an old story now so I’ll say what I feel. Dana and the Fratitta’s are the biggest Hypocrites in the world!.

    “All he’s concerned with is drawing subscribers to HDNet so he can sell out to Time Warner or Comcast.”

    As if thats not what they’re concerned about. I am starting to hate Dana and I really hope that Randy and Fedor etc Kill the UFC. Everyone says “look what Dana’s done for MMA” Dana did it for his pocket people. Dana was a nescesary evil but not anymore.
    The reason all those people mentioned in the Affliction fight card are fighting for Affliction is for one reason to kill the UFC’s dominance and give the fighters and fans what they want.
    Looking at the last UFC fight card (UFC83) and Kalib etc the UFC is on the way down anyway. If the Affliction fight card happens Fedor, Alex, Josh, Ben, Tim and Lindland are all top 10 fighters. The UFC will lose a lot of credibility when people realise that 8 or 9 of the top 10 HWs in the world (the most important and popular weight class) fight elsewhere. I hope Tito goes to Affliction after UFC 84 and they do cross promotions with Dream, Elite XC and WVR amongst others. And then Randy vs Fedor. Trust me Dana and the Frititta bros are worried now and its all their fault because power corrupts and the 2nd MMA revolution is here…I hope.

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