Now add part-owner of a mixed martial arts promotion to Newton’s growing list of business ventures.
The talent agency WME-IMG just bought the Ultimate Fighting Championship for $4 billion, and as part of that deal, 23 athletes and celebrities have purchased small stakes in the company, the Wall Street Journal first reported.
Other big-name new owners of the UFC include New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, tennis star Serena Williams, actor Ben Affleck and singer Adam Levine, according to the news site MMAjunkie.
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The purpose of bringing on celebrity investors is to provide “promotional muscle” for the intense sport of MMA, a combination of kick boxing and wrestling done in octagonal cages by male and female fighters. The UFC airs those fights.
Ari Emanuel, co-CEO of WME-IMG, told the WSJ Thursday that he sought celebrity investors who would help make the case that MMA is a mainstream sport. “They would always ask for tickets,” he said of the 23 new owners.
Terms of the investments by Newton and the other celebrities weren’t disclosed.