UFC Owners Land in Top 10 Most Powerful People in Entertainment

Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell, the co-CEO's behind Endeavor and the primary owners of the UFC have landed in the top 10 for the most powerful people in Hollywood

When the UFC sold to Endeavor (previously known as WME-IMG), part of the attraction was joining a powerhouse agency with a massive reach in the entertainment industry.

Now Endeavor co-CEO’s Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell are being recognized as two of the most powerful people in all of Hollywood.

This week, the Hollywood Reporter released a list of the 100 most powerful people in all of entertainment with Disney CEO Bog Iger landing in the top spot.

Emanuel and Whitesell, who have grown Endeavor from a talent agency to a conglomerate filled with sports promotions like the UFC as well as a production arm that’s starting to actually create content in Hollywood, ended up at No. 10 on the list for 2018.

Here’s part of the reason behind the duo landing in the top 10:

“Endeavor closed a media rights deal in May with ESPN and streaming service ESPN+ valued at $1.5 billion over five years. Emanuel, 57, and Whitesell, 53, continue to push the definition of what an agency is, launching Endeavor Content to finance, sell, develop and in some cases partially own more than 100 projects a year, including BBC America’s “Killing Eve” and Paramount’s “Book Club”.

“The key question for the ambitious pair: With Endeavor’s heavy debt burden, can they take on still more and continue to grow to reach an IPO?”

Endeavor has definitely taken on a lot of responsibility over the past few years while constantly growing the organization with massive additions like the $4 billion purchase of the UFC.

The new broadcast rights deal with ESPN certainly helped justify the cost when buying the UFC back in 2016.

The UFC has also been security all sorts of new endorsement deals in recent months and the return of Conor McGregor in October will likely score Endeavor a massive financial windfall with the card expected to be the biggest show of 2018.

In addition to their business with the UFC, Emanuel and Whitesell have also recently launched an Endeavor podcast division while they continue to be mentioned amongst possible suitors for all sorts of major purchases in the entertainment industry.

Most recently, Endeavor was mentioned as a potential buyer for Endemol Shine, the production and distribution company best known for series such as ‘Peaky Blinders’ and ‘Black Mirror’.

By all estimations, Endeavor will continue to be in the buying business as rumors continue to persist that the company may eventually go public.

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.
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