Sunday December 3, 2023

UFC Cutting Weight

Yoel Romero
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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The UFC could cut 60 fighters by the end of this year due to pandemic-related revenue losses and an increase in recent signees from “Dana White’s Contender Series,” the digital series where the UFC president scouts prospects.

Serious Cuts: “Our roster is very inflated right now,” White said following Saturday’s UFC Fight Night.

Middleweight contender Yoel Romero was the first casualty when he was released on Friday after a string of poor performances, with three fights remaining on his contract. White said there’s more to come as the organization looks to cut costs.

Pandemic Pummeled Year: UFC events restarted in May and have run every weekend since July. Those events, however, have been held without fans, creating a massive loss of expected revenue.

  • In May, White projected the UFC would lose more than $100 million without ticket revenue in 2020. The organization brought in approximately $900 million in total revenue in 2019.
  • UFC’s Fight Island events in Abu Dhabi made waves, including 1.3 million pay-per-view buys for UFC 251. White called it “worthwhile,” but “f—ing expensive.”

Will the cuts help? Trimming the fight roster isn’t abnormal — but it’s typically to a smaller extent. Last year, the UFC paid its fighters just 16% of its revenue, or less than $150 million. That’s a stark contrast to the 48%-50% the NBA, NFL and MLB share with their players.

Meanwhile, dividends totaling more than $300 million were paid out to investors. It was the first dividend payout since Endeavor paid $4 billion for 50% of the UFC in 2016.

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