The massive success of the UFC over the last 15 years helped make its Las Vegas-based owners superstars in the sports world.
An estimated $4 billion sale of the organization in July helped usher in a whole new era that will now see global celebrities become part-owners of the world’s largest mixed martial arts promotion.
Talk-show host Conan O’Brien announced on his show Thursday night he is part of a group of 23 stars of sport, stage and screen investing in the UFC.
The story was first reported by The Wall Street Journal late Thursday.
O’Brien is joined by a diverse group that includes Ben Affleck as well as Venus and Serena Williams.
A group headed by Hollywood powerhouse WME-IMG purchased the organization from Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta in July. The agency wasted little time in adding star power to the ownership.
Most of the new stakeholders are represented by WME-IMG, according to The Wall Street Journal. Terms of their investments were not disclosed.
“I think I own $40 worth,” O’Brien joked on his show.
Ari Emanuel, the co-chief executive of WME-IMG and the inspiration of the Ari Gold character in the HBO series “Entourage,” told the newspaper the big-name additions show the sport has taken its place in America’s athletic landscape.
“I think it’s a mainstream sport now,” he said.
Las Vegas native Jimmy Kimmel, another talk show host, is another new investor. Tom Brady, Cam Newton and Maria Sharapova are also part of the group.
The UFC is expected to formally announce the news, along with a full list of celebrity investors, on Friday.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at email@example.com or 702-224-5509. Follow on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj