The Business of MMA in 2023: UFC produced over $1 billion in revenue, PFL buys Bellator, fighters turn to OnlyFans

The global pandemic crushed a lot of businesses across the globe, but it’s safe to say the UFC is one of the biggest success stories to emerge from that disastrous time.

While the pandemic prompted down years for just about everybody, the UFC still exploded in popularity over the past three years, securing bigger sponsorship deals, higher viewership, and strangely enough an invulnerability to losing fan interest in events that didn’t always have great name value attached. Case in point: Conor McGregor hasn’t fought since 2021 yet the past two years have still been the best ever for the UFC financially.

Now that the UFC operates as a publicly traded company — first under Endeavor and now as part of TKO Group Holdings — financial disclosures are regularly reported. What that shows is that the UFC has become a juggernaut of profitability, with revenue increases quarter after quarter, transforming the promotion into a company valued at over triple the-more-than $4 billion price tag Ari Emanuel and his investors at Endeavor paid for it in 2016.

UFC went on a ridiculous streak of sellouts at arenas, and while that momentum eventually stopped, the organization has still broken several live gate records over the past year.

A deep dive into the numbers in 2023 proves that the UFC isn’t slowing down, and if anything, the organization may be gaining steam heading into 2024 and beyond — 2025 will almost assuredly become the UFC’s biggest financial year because the company will ink a new broadcast rights deal worth billions. Multi-billions actually.

But for now, we’re going to take a look at the biggest business stories related to the MMA world in 2023 — and just for transparency’s sake, there’s one issue we won’t be tackling with this article, which is the effect of the ongoing class-action lawsuit against the UFC. That’s not to say information revealed from the lawsuit won’t be referenced, but its full financial impact won’t be felt until there’s either a settlement or the case goes to trial, and that’s not happening in 2023.

So with that said, let’s get started with a look at the UFC’s financials based on disclosures through the first nine months of the year (the final quarter won’t be reported until early 2024 so those aren’t available just yet).

UFC Produced More Than $1 Billion in Revenue in Just 9 Months

That’s probably the most

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