Celebrity owners of UFC include movie stars Stallone, Affleck, Wahlberg plus tennis aces Sharapova and Williams sisters – The Sun

IN 2016, UFC president Dana White and his co-business partners who set up the fighting championship sold a majority stake in the promotion company for £3.2billion.

The buyers were the Hollywood talent agency WME-IMG, who count the biggest names in film, music and sport as their clients.

They gave each of their stars the opportunity to purchase shares in the UFC – with 23 taking up the option to pay a minimum £220,000 for a stake.

And according to WME co-chief executive Ari Emanuel, all of the below mentioned are major fans – often reaching out to the famed agent for tickets for the major events.

But who are the secret celebrity backers? Let SunSport reveal all.


Of course the man famous for playing Rocky wanted a slice of the UFC pie.

Stallone, worth around £350million, is believed to have multiple shares that he's even willing to hand over.

In fact, he once told TMZ Conor McGregor should have some shares in the UFC, even offering Notorious some of his own.

“Absolutely," he replied when asked if the Irishman should be involved in the business.

"Of course. I got an extra room in the house.”

Stallone has also cast Ronda Rousey in The Expendables series, as well as Chael Sonnen in a cameo in Grudge Match.


The Oscar-winning director and actor famously played The Dark Knight in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

And the fight fan admitted he based his portrayal of the comic book hero on McGregor, especially during fighting scenes.

Affleck also called on McGregor to fight Floyd Mayweather before that exhibition fight was organised, saying it would be the best fight of the last 30 years.

He wasn't wrong in terms of how much it made.


A massive fight fan and famed action hero, Wahlberg has known Dana White since he filmed 1997 movie Boogie Nights.

The pair roomed together, and Wahlberg has always had an interested in boxing – that translated well playing Mickey Ward in The Fighter.

Movie producer Wahlberg has also been rumoured to want to cast Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor in film projects in the past.


The highest paid DJ in the world, said to make £38.5million, was never going to miss out on an opportunity to invest in the UFC.

And after a Las Vegas show, fighters including Paul Craig have been known to whizz to the MGM Grand where the Scotsman has a residency to hear him spin.

Harris is also well-known for making money off property, buying and selling homes in LA for more money than he paid.


With retirement now upon her, Russian tennis legend Sharapova would have more time on her hands to watch the UFC.

However, she doesn't seem too interested in the sport itself and just sees it as a good business opportunity.

"Maria believes in the company's success, however, has no plans to participate in the activities of the UFC,” a spokesman said on her behalf.


Venus and Serena dominated the women's game – just like Rousey did in the UFC.

And like Sharapova, they know a good deal when they see one.

The successful pair took up the opportunity to invest in the UFC, with their shares believed to have tripled in worth since purchase.


With two Grand Slam titles to her name, Li Na is China's most successful tennis star.

Her highest ranking was World Number two, and although she retired in 2014 she's still thought of as royalty in her homeland.

And she certainly has a fighting spirit about her.

"I did not really miss playing tennis, but I did miss the fighting competition," she once said.


The NFL legend, formerly of New England Patriots, is a four-time Super Bowl champion, three-time Super Bowl MVP and two-time NFL MVP.

And he's also a UFC fan, after being spotted at UFC 200 back in 2016 to watch Brock Lesnar beat Mark Hunt, among other fights at the event.

He wasn't accompanied by supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen though, instead it was pal Justin Timberlake sat next to him.


Another NFL quarterback, and current free agent, Newton is a sports fanatic.

Baseball, basketball and the UFC are just some of his passions away from American Football.

As well as his UFC shares, Newton also has his own fashion line, as well as a cigar bar in Atlanta and is a TV producer.


Two of the famous US band's stars are investors in the UFC.

Frontman Anthony Kiedis and bassist Michael "Flea" Balzary are self-confessed fans of MMA and are regularly seen at events.

“I love the knowns, I love the unknows," Kiedis once said about wanting to watch an entire fight card.

"You never know, sometimes the most fascinating fights happen before anybody is watching. And is also your chance to familiarise yourself with these people."


The American writer, producer and film star was originally rumoured to have helped the UFC find its 'Fight Island'.

Perry owns an island in the Bahamas, and it was reported that he was going to allow Dana White to stage fights on it.

However, it has since been confirmed that UFC 251, the first 'Fight Island' event, will take place on Yas island in Abu Dhabi.


The Blinding Lights singer is well-known for his soulful crooning about love, so what does he know about fighting?

But The Weeknd, real-name Abel Makkonen Tesfaye is a well-known sports fan.

He even shared a night out with UFC poster-boy McGregor back in 2016.


Not so well known to UK audiences, but US TV chat show kings Jimmy Kimmel and Conan O'Brien both invested their millions into the UFC.

O'Brien hilariously mocked up fight posters of him taking on McGregor and Rousey, and has invited them on to his show in the past.

Kimmel has also featured the likes of Dana White and Nate Diaz on Jimmy Kimmel Live.


South Park co-creator Trey Parker, big-budget movie director Michael Bay (famous for Transformers film series), professional skateboard Rob Dyrdek, US TV chef Guy Fieri, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, New England Patriots CEO Robert Craft, and rapper LL Cool J are all investors.

In fact, LL Cool J's famous hit "Mama Said Knock You Out" has been used as walkout songs by UFC stars including Daniel Cormier and Gilbert Melendez.

The hip-hop star also trained at Jackson's MMA in New Mexico when shooting a show.

Famously, Jon Jones, Donald Cerrone, and Clay Guida are staples there.

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