WME-IMG hoped to self-finance the transaction to obtain the UFC from Zuffa and some of the investors are well-known celebrities. When negotiations to buy the UFC were ongoing there were reports that the Kraft Group, run by Robert Kraft who also owns the New England Patriots, and other famous individuals including those represented by Ari Emanuel were willing to invest in the venture.
The celebrities invested in the UFC are:
Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye, Adam Levine, Anthony Kiedis, Ben Affleck, Calvin Harris, Cam Newton, Conan O’Brien, Flea, Guy Fieri, Jimmy Kimmel, Li Na, LL COOL J, Maria Sharapova, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Bay, Rob Dyrdek, Robert Kraft, Serena Williams, Sylvester Stallone, Tom Brady, Trey Parker, Tyler Perry and Venus Williams are the latest to join UFC’s ownership group. In July 2016, global entertainment and sports leader WME | IMG – joined by Silver Lake Partners, KKR, MSD Capital, L.P. and MSD Partners, L.P. – announced it would acquire UFC®, the world’s premier professional mixed martial arts (MMA) organization.