The UFC's parent company has taken a step toward a major change: filing paperwork to go public.
Endeavor, known mostly for its work as a talent agency with sports holdings, announced Thursday that it has filed a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposing an initial public offering (or stock market launch). Endeavor, formerly known as WME-IMG, represents the NFL and NHL, in addition to its majority ownership of the UFC. The number of shares Endeavor will offer and the price range for the offering have not been determined.
Endeavor bought the UFC from Las Vegas casino moguls Lorenzo and Frank Ferttitta in 2016 for more than $4 billion -- at the time, one of the biggest sports acquisitions ever. The UFC is a major part of Endeavor's portfolio, reportedly earning record revenue in recent years. In 2018, the UFC signed a five-year U.S. rights deal with ESPN, which was extended to seven years in March with the addition of pay-per-view distribution on ESPN+.
It isn't clear if UFC operations would be affected by Endeavor going public. The promotion has historically been private with its financial numbers, when it comes to revenue and fighter payouts, which could change as part of a publicly traded company.