It’s a hit business like no other. And CNBC is ready for a rematch. Ultimate Fighting Championship the premiere name in the sport of mixed martial arts.
CNBC takes a new look inside the biggest brand in brawling with “Ultimate Fighting: Fistful of Dollars,” a fresh take on CNBC’s original Emmy-nominated documentary from 2007.
Correspondent Scott Wapner travels to Germany for the UFC’s first-ever event in mainland Europe, and goes inside the Octagon with Dana White, the controversial front man, as well as billionaire backers Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta. Wapner also profiles a stable of skilled fighters who have helped the league grow from a dying franchise to a global sensation in less than a decade.
It’s not just the sport’s growing legion of fans who’ve taken notice, but Madison Avenue, too. In 2007, marquee brands were reluctant to advertise with a league that had a no-holds-barred reputation. Despite continued controversy, the UFC has gone mainstream, and Fortune 500 companies like Budweiser and Harley-Davidson are big-time backers.
The sport is becoming so popular and profitable that billionaires Mark Cuban and Donald Trump are throwing their hats into the ring. Their league, Affliction, promises top fighters and revenues to match, but Dana White tells Wapner that it’s just another in a long list of competitors he’s ready to take to the mat.
CNBC takes a look at the range of promotions, endorsements and movie deals tied to the sport, as well as at TapouT, the successful apparel company created by three hardcore fans who turned their passion for mixed martial arts into a $100 million dollar business.
It’s a mix of muscle and mayhem that is making money hand over fist.
CNBC’S “Ultimate Fighting: Fistful of Dollars” will premiere on Wednesday, July 29th at 10PM and 1AM ET. The documentary will re-air on Friday, July 31st at 1AM and Sunday, August 2nd at 10PM ET.