TKO Group CEO Ari Emanuel banks almost $85 million in 2023, including $20 million UFC bonus

MixCollage 26 Apr 2024 03 21 PM 8471Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel banked nearly $85 million in 2023. According to a proxy statement filed with the Securities…

MixCollage 26 Apr 2024 03 21 PM 8471

Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel banked nearly $85 million in 2023.

According to a proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ahead of an annual stockholders meeting scheduled for June, Emanuel netted $65 million for his role as one of the top executives for TKO Group Holdings, the publicly traded entity that currently houses both the Ultimate Fighting Championship and World Wrestling Entertainment under the same roof.

Ari Emanuel

Per a report from Damon Martin of MMA Fighting, the breakdown includes $911,538 in prorated salary based on the merger date to the end of the fiscal year on September 12, 2023, along with a $24 million bonus and just over $40 million in stock rewards.

Emanual also took home a $20 million transaction bonus from UFC that “was not tied to achievement of any specified performance measure and, as such, is not included herein.”

Ari Emanuel

Ari Emanuel wasn’t the only executive who brought home the bacon in 2023

Next on the list was TKO president and chief operating officer Mark Shapiro who made $16 million, including a $9 million bonus and more than $6 million in stock awards. Shapiro brought in another $22.77 million attributable to Endeavor, bringing his total 2023 take to more than $38 million.

Chief financial officer Andrew Schleimer earned more than $8.7 million, with a $5 million bonus and more than $3.1 million in stock awards.

Also reaping the benefits was WWE President and TKO Group board member Nick Khan who took home more than $32 million in total compensation, which included a $15 million bonus and more than $12 million in stock awards.

Nick Khan WWE

TKO Group will likely continue to see its profits skyrocket after the WWE closed a five-year, $10 billion deal to move its flagship show, Monday Night Raw, to Netflix starting in 2025.

WWE Raw on Netflix

The UFC will also return to the negotiating table as its broadcasting deal with ESPN is set to expire at the end of next year.

The initial deal with ESPN was for five years with the the cable sports network paying out $1.5 billion for the rights before being extended for an additional two years. Early reports suggest the UFC could double that amount with its next broadcasting deal after seeing a massive boom in business over the last several years.

UFC, WWE top Forbes’ 2024 list of the most valuable combat sports promotions

UFC, WWE top Forbes' 2024 list of the most valuable combat sports promotionsUltimate Fighting Championship is the most valuable combat sports promotion with its business buddy, World Wrestling Entertainment, sitting comfortably…

UFC, WWE top Forbes' 2024 list of the most valuable combat sports promotions

Ultimate Fighting Championship is the most valuable combat sports promotion with its business buddy, World Wrestling Entertainment, sitting comfortably in the No. 2 spot.

Combat sports are more popular than ever. That was more than evident following Saturday’s massive UFC 300 card in Las Vegas. Even before fight night, the UFC expected recording-breaking numbers at the gate and more than a million pay-per-view purchases.

Following the landmark event, UFC CEO Dana White confirmed that the event had brought in more than $16.5 million in ticket sales, making it the third-best in the company’s 30+ year history.

So it should come as no surprise that the UFC is listed as the most valuable combat sports organization in the world according to Forbes’ list of The Most Valuable Combat Sports Promotions Of 2024 with a whopping $11.3 billion evaluation.

UFC tops Forbes' list

Coming in second place is WWE, the pro wrestling giant received a $6.8 billion evaluation on the heels of WrestleMania 40. The two-night spectacular scored rave reviews from fans and per WWE, the gate for the event was up 78% compared to the previous record set during WrestleMania 39, with 145,298 in attendance across both nights this year.

In 2023, the UFC’s parent company Endeavor purchased WWE and merged the two organizations under one banner, TKO Group Holdings.

Ari Emanuel UFC WWE Endeavor 1

Two of the UFC and WWE’s competitors make forbes’ top five Most Valuable Combat Sports Companies

Rounding out the top five was All Elite Wrestling, the WWE’s top competitor in the world of sports entertainment. Owned by Tony Khan, AEW is worth a reported $2 billion.

AEW 2022 logo

Singapore-based combat sports entity ONE Championship, founded by CEO Chatri Sityodtong is listed at No. 4 with an estimated worth of $1.3 billion.

ONE WorldChampion belt colour.jpg 1523267029

Coming in fifth is Matchroom Boxing, a UK-based sporting event promotions company founded by Barry Hearn and run by him and his son Eddie Hearn, valued at $850 million. The three other boxing promotions in the top 10 were Top Rank Boxing ($630 million), Premier Boxing Championship ($600 million) and Golden Boy Promotions ($450 million).

UFC veteran Ronda Rousey accuses WWE star of inappropriate behavior: ‘This guy grabs the string of my sweatpants’

Ronda Rousey accusses WWE star of inappropriate behavior he pulled the string of my sweatpantsFormer WWE star Ronda Rousey accused a wrestler of inappropriate behavior backstage, while she was with the company. Rousey…

Ronda Rousey accusses WWE star of inappropriate behavior he pulled the string of my sweatpants

Former WWE star Ronda Rousey accused a wrestler of inappropriate behavior backstage, while she was with the company.

Rousey retired from the WWE due to concussion issues, but as she has been promoting her new book ‘Our Fight’ one thing that stood out was accusing wrestler Drew Gulak of inappropriate behavior backstage.

Ronda Rousey not interested in fighting Miesha Tate at UFC 300 plans to have another child
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Bottari – Zuffa LLC

“I was standing there, and a guy that I’m barely an acquaintance with grabbed the string of my sweatpants as I was walking by, and I wasn’t even looking at him. This guy grabs the string of my sweatpants, and nobody else reacts as if this is abnormal,” Rousey said. “He grabs me and starts going down the hall, and I’m like, wtf was that? Why are you grabbing the string of my sweatpants? If my husband was here standing next to me, would you feel comfortable walking up to me and grabbing the string of my sweatpants?”

Ronda Rousey claims she did confront Gulak about his accusations, but she says that put a sour taste in her mouth of the WWE culture.

Ronda Rousey urged to make UFC return at featherweight save the division
Mandatory Credit: MMA Junkie

“I was like, if I ever hear you putting your hands on any other woman like this or doing anything to me like this ever again…we’re going to have a problem. And he was like ‘No, no, no, I’m glad you said something to me’ and he backpedaled. But it put a sour taste in my mouth about the culture there and what’s considered acceptable and how to touch and treat the women in the hallways.”

Currently, Gulak has yet to comment on Rousey’s accusation, and whether or not he will is uncertain.

Gulak is currently part of the NXT brand and is a former WWE cruiserweight champion.

Ronda Rousey says concussions was A key factor in retirement

Ronda Rousey says she decided to walk away from WWE and combat sports due to her history of concussions.

Ronda Rousey urged to avoid a UFC return walk away and be a farmer
Mandatory Credit: Zuffa LLC

Rousey says she dealt with concussions quite frequently during her judo career and it only worsened during her UFC and WWE tenure.

Since retiring from WWE, Rousey went on to write this book and is focused on being a mother.

WWE Superstar CM Punk has ‘zero regrets’ over his lackluster run in the UFC: ‘I would do it again’

WWE Superstar CM Punk has 'zero regrets' over his lackluster UFC run: 'I would do it again'CM Punk has no regrets over his lackluster run inside the Octagon. Best known for his work in the…

WWE Superstar CM Punk has 'zero regrets' over his lackluster UFC run: 'I would do it again'

CM Punk has no regrets over his lackluster run inside the Octagon.

Best known for his work in the world of pro wrestling, Punk — real name Phil Brooks — walked away from the sports entertainment industry in 2014 after becoming disenfranchised by the direction of his employer, World Wrestling Entertainment.

During his time away from the squared circle, Punk signed a deal with the UFC and made his promotional debut at UFC 203 against Mickey Gall. Punk was promptly pummeled and forced to tap out via a rear-naked choke less than halfway through the opening round.

CM Punk vs. Mikey Gall

He returned two years later to take another fight against Mike Jackson. Punk fared much better the second time around and went the full three rounds, but ultimately came up short once again.

At that point, CM Punk knew it was time to lay down his four-ounce gloves for good, but don’t think for a moment that he has any regrets regarding his brief stint in mixed martial arts.

“I’m glad I did it, zero regrets,” Punk said during an appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. “I shouldn’t have fought in Chicago, easily the worst two weeks of my life (due to a court case), I couldn’t cut weight properly, but I still made weight, and I’m proud of myself for that. I’m an ambitious guy. I’m every bit of 215 pounds. My mind was, I could fight at 170 because the dudes at 185 were f*cking beasts. I get it. It’s easy to LOL, to make fun of me, some people look at me and are like ‘Oh that’s embarrassing.’

“I made the weight, I made the walk, I’m 100 percent proud of myself and I would do it again because that was me at my absolute worst and I did it.”

CM Punk vs. Mike Jackson

CM Punk’s return to wrestling has had its fair share of ups and downs

Since then, Punk has rediscovered his love for wrestling. In August 2021, he made his triumphant return to the industry with All Elite Wrestling. Sadly, his run would be cut short after engaging in an all-too-real feud with Nick and Matt Jackson, better known as The Young Bucks — and more importantly, executive vice presidents of AEW. Punk was released by the promotion in September 2023.

CM Punk makes his AEW debut

He returned to the WWE two months later at the company’s annual Survivor Series event. Originally, Punk was scheduled to be a big part of WrestleMania XL this weekend (April 6-7), but he suffered a tricep tear while competing in January’s Royal Rumble, forcing him to sit on the sidelines for the “Showcase of the Immortals.”

CM Punk returns to WWE

WWE rumored to bring NXT Battleground event to The UFC APEX in Las Vegas on Sunday, June 9

WWE rumored to bring NXT Battleground event to The UFC APEX in Las Vegas on Sunday, June 9The WWE is looking to bring its NXT brand to the UFC APEX in Las Vegas this summer. According…

WWE rumored to bring NXT Battleground event to The UFC APEX in Las Vegas on Sunday, June 9

The WWE is looking to bring its NXT brand to the UFC APEX in Las Vegas this summer.

According to a report from Wrestle Votes, the NXT Battleground event originally scheduled for May 26 in Savannah, Georgia, may be shifting to June 9, 2024, in Las Vegas. Furthermore, the show is rumored to go down inside The APEX which is owned by the WWE’s business buddy, Ultimate Fighting Championship.

WWE heading to the UFC Apex

The UFC and World Wrestling Entertainment were merged under the TKO Group Holdings banner last year.

While the two organizations have operated independently of one another since the merger, recent reports suggest that the two brands may start touring cities together in the near future to create a series of destination events. WWE’s move to The APEX for its first premium NXT event following WrestleMania XL may be a trial run of sorts.

WWE heading to the UFC APEX

Last month, former Bellator MMA champion ‘Iron’ Michael Chandler made an appearance on the pro wrestling empire’s flagship show to call out Irish megastar Conor McGregor.

With both organizations answering to the same business daddy, it’s just a matter of time before they begin blurring the lines and maximizing their crossover opportunities. We’ve already seen a slew of former UFC fighters make their way to the world of sports entertainment, including Matt Riddle, Ronda Rousey, and Brock Lesnar — though in Lesnar’s case, he was a WWE Superstar before becoming the UFC heavyweight champion.

WWE heads to Philadelphia for its 40th anniversary of WrestleMania

On Saturday, April 6, and Sunday, April 7, WWE presents its 40th anniversary of WrestleMania, live from Lincoln Financial Field in Philly, PA. The big story of the event will be the return of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson who is scheduled to team up with his real-life cousin and reigning Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, Roman Reigns. The two will take on the team of Cody Rhodes and Iowa’s own Seth freakin’ Rollins.

Also featuring on the card will be YouTuber turned WWE Superstar Logan Paul who put his WWE United States Championship on the line in a triple threat match against Kevin Owens and Randy Orton.

Logan Paul as WWE U.S. Champion

Check out the official trailer for WrestleMania XL below:

Ronda Rousey slams ‘evil, unethical, slimeball’ Vince McMahon amid slew of vile assault allegations

Ronda Rousey slams 'evil, unethical, slimeball' Vince McMahon amid slew of vile assault allegationsFormer UFC and WWE Superstar Ronda Rousey absolutely shredded pro wrestling’s “Emperor Palpatine” Vince McMahon in her upcoming memoir….

Ronda Rousey slams 'evil, unethical, slimeball' Vince McMahon amid slew of vile assault allegations

Former UFC and WWE Superstar Ronda Rousey absolutely shredded pro wrestling’s “Emperor Palpatine” Vince McMahon in her upcoming memoir.

Officially set for a release on April 2, Our Fight will give fans of the women’s MMA pioneer a glimpse into her journey from an Olympic medalist, to a UFC champion, to one of the biggest names in all of sports entertainment. Unfortunately, it wasn’t glitz and glamor, particularly during her post-UFC stint as a member of the WWE roster.

Ronda Rousey memoir Our Fight

From 2017 to 2023, Rousey was an active member of the WWE Universe — aside from a period of inactivity during which her daughter was born. During her time in the spotlight, ‘Rowdy’ was one of the biggest names in the game and even broke barriers by being one of the first women to ever headline WrestleMania.

Ronda Rousey

Last year, Rousey walked away from the promotion, leading many to believe that she was gearing up for a return to MMA at UFC 300 on April 13.

We now know that’s not the case, but it appears that there was a far darker reason for her decision to walk away, as seen in an excerpt from her book.

“NXT was founded by and under the control of Triple H, real name Paul Levesque,” a section of Rousey’s memoir read.” In addition into being my in-ring WrestleMania nemesis, he is arguably one of the best professional wrestlers in history and one of the better people on the business side. He is married to Stephanie McMahon, who is the daughter of WWE’s Emperor Palpatine, Vince McMahon. Vince took over the company from his father in the early 1980s and spent the better part of forty years playing a real-world pro-wrestling version of Monopoly, buying up and absorbing smaller promotions until he basically owned them all.

“It’s hard sometimes to know where the evil, unethical, slimeball character of Vince McMahon played out for the camera ends and the actual questionably ethical, many times sued, and multiple times accused of sexual misconduct Vince McMahon begins. That blurred line between character and reality is a recurring theme within the WWE Universe” (h/t BJPenn.com).

Ronda Rousey

Ronda Rousey takes a dig at McMahon’s deal with Saudi Arabia

In January, a former WWE employee named Janel Grant filed a lawsuit against McMahon, alleging that the WWE founder had sexually assaulted her multiple times in 2021 and trafficked her to other employees within the organization. McMahon allegedly pressured Grant into signing an NDA to secure her silence in exchange for $3 million. However, after the initial $1 million payment, no further payments were ever made prompting Grant to file the suit.

McMahon stepped down from his role with the WWE and as a chairman of its parent company, TKO Group shortly after the allegations were first reported in The Wall Street Journal.

“[Pay-per-views are] held in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia, as well as twice a year now in Saudi Arabia,” the memoir continues. “A nation that restricts the rights of women in a way that I’m certain Vince McMahon wishes he could.”

Vince McMahon and Donald Trump