The MMA story of the year was the sale in July of the UFC for over $4,000,000 to the talent agency WME-IMG. It was the largest sale in sports history.
As is standard practice in corporate acquisitions, WME-IMG looked for positions that could be cut. They apparently found just under 15% of the company, which is estimated to number approximately 400 employees in total across the headquarters in Las Vegas, and offices in Los Angeles, Toronto, London, Sao Paulo, and Singapore. No international offices will be closed in their entirety.
High-ranking executives were among those relieved of their duties, including:
•Marshall Zelaznik, ten years with the UFC: Formerly the president of the London office and until today chief content officer, who spearheaded the creation of UFC Fight Pass.
•Gary Cook, four years with the UFC: Former head of operations in Europe, Middle East and Africa, and until todat chief global brand officer and head of international business development.
•Ken Berger, three years with the UFC: Executive vice president and general manager of Asia.
•Jamie Pollack, twelve years with the UFC: Senior vice president of Global Content.
•Shanda Maloney: Social media director.
•Ed Muncey, Senior vice president of technology.
•Brad Smuckler, Controller.
The layoffs reportedly hit today.
Layoffs will come in multiple departments, including sponsorships, licensing, public relations and production, though there are no immediate plans to reduce the UFC’s event schedule. Part of WME-IMG’s plan upon acquiring the promotion was to utilize its expertise in live event production, an additional source said.
Over the past three weeks, multiple senior executives have departed the UFC, including longtime UFC matchmaker Joe Silva and Giovanni Decker, vice president and general manager in Brazil. This past week, Dave Sholler, vice president of public relations, athlete marketing and development, announced he is leaving the company to take a job in the communications department for the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers.
The China office was reportedly hit particularly hard, with