Following its acquisition of Ultimate Fighting Championship three months ago, WME-IMG has begun laying off just under 15% of UFC’s total staff, sources confirmed to Deadline.
The layoffs had been expected and are said to be affecting largely areas where there is duplication with IMG’s existing infrastructure including sponsorship, licensing and marketing. There are no current plans to cut back on UFC events or close offices.
The WME-IMG-led $4 billion deal to acquire the world’s leading mixed martial arts franchise has come under scrutiny in the past few weeks. Federal regulators recently warned Goldman Sachs that it might have made too many rosy assumptions about UFC’s potential earnings when it sold about $1.8 billion in debt for the transaction this past summer.
Following the acquisition, UFC added celebrity glitter to its ownership ranks. Its backers now include stars — most of them WME-IGM clientt — Ben Affleck, Sylvester Stallone, Jimmy Kimmel, Tyler Perry, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Bay, Conan O’Brien, Trey Parker, Adam Levine, Guy Fieri, LL Cool J, Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye, Anthony Kiedis and Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Calvin Harris, Cam Newton, Li Na, Maria Sharapova, Rob Dyrdek, Serena and Venus Williams, Tom Brady and Robert Kraft.
The UFC layoffs were first reported by MMAJunkie.