The shake-up at the Ultimate Fighting Championship reached the boardroom yesterday with the announcement of the release of a ton of high level executives, including chief content officer Marshall Zelaznik and chief global officer Garry Cook.
Just three months after WME-IMG purchased the UFC from the Fertitta brothers for more than $4 billion, the cull also involves Asia managing director Ken Berger, Latin America director Jaime Pollack, social media director Shanda Maloney, senior vice president of technology Ed Muncey and controller Brad Smuckler.
Cook, who started with the organization three years ago – taking over the EMEA operations from Zelaznick, released a statement last night. It reads: “This has been a magnificent experience with one of the greatest sports enterprises of the modern day.
“I am thankful and proud to have played a part in their brand story working with Lorenzo Fertitta, Dana White, Lawrence Epstein and all the talented individuals at the UFC.
“With the new leadership from WME/IMG the next era of continuing to redefine the global sports landscape is very exciting. I wish them well delivering on their vision for success.”
Zelaznik, meanwhile, had been with the Octagon for over a decade. After setting up the first UFC international office in London, he moved back to Las Vegas to spearhead the Fight Pass arm of the business.
The WME-IMG shake-up is expected to shed “less than 15%” of it’s global workforce – around 400 people – however they insist the event schedule won’t be affected.
These latest departures arrive after the announcement from matchmaker Joe Silva, who’s UFC career dated back to before the Fertitta’s takeover, would be stepping down at the end of the year.
It seems the UFC in 2017 is going to have a very different look and feel to the one we know today.