Hollywood talent agency WME-IMG has enlisted a group of celebrities -- at a minimum investment of $250,000 each, sources told ESPN's Darren Rovell -- to help finance its recent $4 billion acquisition of the UFC.
On Thursday, late night talk show host Conan O'Brien, a client of WME-IMG, announced a "small ownership stake" in the UFC. Others announced Friday include Ben Affleck, Tom Brady, Robert Kraft, Mark Wahlberg, Adam Levine, Cam Newton, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, The Weeknd, Anthony Kiedis, Flea, Li Na, Guy Fieri, Calvin Harris, LL Cool J, Michael Bay, Trey Parker, Tyler Perry, Jimmy Kimmel, Rob Dyrdek and Sylvester Stallone.
According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, WME-IMG co-CEO Ari Emanuel enlisted celebrities he "knew to be fans of the sport" to join the UFC ownership group. Terms of the investments were not disclosed.
"Expanding our ownership group to include this caliber of talent and entrepreneurs is a strong indicator of UFC's fast-growing global presence," UFC president Dana White said Friday in a statement. "Our new investors bring an incredible depth of knowledge and experience to help us continue to elevate this brand and capitalize on its entertainment and sports crossover appeal."
In addition to investments, the celebrity group will likely help market the UFC. Emanuel told WSJ, "I think it's a mainstream sport now."
The UFC announced it had been sold for more than $4 billion in July. It marked the largest single financial transaction in sport's history.
The previous controlling owners, brothers Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, purchased the company in 2001 for $2 million.