The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is the most valuable combat sports promotion in the world according to Forbes

The mixed martial arts company was valued at $11.3bn to top Forbes’ most valuable list, ahead of the WWE ($6.8bn), AEW ($2bn), ONE Championship ($1.3bn) and Matchroom Boxing ($850m). 


When Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta sold the UFC to current owners Endeavour Group in 2016, the company was bought for $4.2bn. Taking into account Forbes’ latest valuation, the jump to $11.3bn signifies a 214% rise. 

Much of the UFC’s success from 2016 onwards stems from the presidency of Dana White, and the surge of new pay-per-view stars such as Israel Adesanya and Sean O’Malley, who alongside Jon Jones were marked as the top draws for UFC in 2023. 

The promotion also significantly benefited from rapid expansion into new markets as Weilli Zhang became the company’s first Chinese champion and enabled the firm to bolster its presence in what is regarded as a burgeoning region for combat sports. 

UFC’s position as the most lucrative combat sports brand comes following one of the promotion’s biggest events to date. UFC 300 last Saturday (13 April) garnered an impressive $16.5m gate at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, with 1.1 billion social media views and its most-watched preliminary card in company history. 

Another significant moment for the UFC occurred in April 2023, when it was announced that Endeavour would become the majority owner of WWE, merging both combat sports promotions into one publicly traded entity known as TKO Group, which, at the time of the WWE merger, had a combined valuation of $21bn. 


The TKO merger has seemingly benefitted WWE the most in its early stages, with the professional wrestling company topping the 2023 revenue charts at $1.33bn, leading ahead of the UFC ($1.29bn), AEW ($250m), ONE Championship ($140m) and Matchroom Boxing ($134m). 

Since the departure of long-time owner Vince McMahon – who is currently under investigation for sex trafficking and other accusations – Nick Khan assumed the position as WWE’s President, the company has broken into new sponsorship territory, as well as a new wave of sellout arena’s for its weekly RAW and SmackDown shows. 

The WWE also signed lucrative broadcast rights deals for both shows recently. The company agreed a five-year, $1.4bn deal with the USA Network for SmackDown starting October 2024, whilst the most significant deal saw RAW for the first time ever being moved off cable TV to Netflix in a 10-year deal worth a reported $500m-per-year. 

WWE also held its own record-breaking event two weeks ago with WrestleMania XL, which saw the company’s two top draws, according to Forbes, Cody Rhodes and Roman Reigns, competing in the night two main event, with the return of Hollywood superstar Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson returning to the company for his first match since 2013 on night one. 

WWE’s competitor, All Elite Wrestling (AEW), was founded by Tony Khan, son of Shahid Khan who is the owner of Fulham FC and the Jacksonville Jaguars

Whilst still in its relative infancy, the company secured a lucrative broadcast deal with WarnerMedia to air Dynamite – the promotion’s weekly television programme – on TNT and TBS. The company has also landed high-profile sponsorship opportunities with the likes of DraftKings

The Singapore-based ONE Championship has been accelerating revenue and expansion strategies over the last several years, earning itself to be the second-most valued MMA promotion. 

Whilst still predominantly hosting events across Southeast Asia, the company has been making significant efforts in the US, hosting more shows in the country and with further plans to host four more events this year. 

Despite not being the premier combat sports attraction as it once was, boxing still has a large fanbase and still continues to create marketable fighters known across the globe. 

Matchroom Boxing is listed as the most valuable boxing promotion on Forbes’ list, with Chairman Eddie Hearn hosting some of the sports’ biggest names such as Anthony Joshua, Devin Haney and at one stage, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez

Matchroom Boxing’s $850m valuation was ahead of its competitors Top Rank Boxing ($630m), Premier Boxing Championship ($600m) and Golden Boy Promotions ($450m). 

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