Russian tennis star Sharapova invests in UFC

© mariasharapova instagram.com / AFP Photo
Maria Sharapova has joined the top sports stars who have reportedly invested in the UFC following the company's recent $4 billion takeover by WME-IMG.

According to the Wall Street Journal's Erich Schwartzel, Serena and Venus Williams have both acquired equity in the company, while Fox Sports' Damon Martin also listed New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady as an investor.

Late-night TV host Conan O'Brien is amongst the group of investors that includes Brady, the Williams sisters and Sharapova.

During a Thursday night episode of his program, O'Brien told his studio audience that he is now a part owner of the company.

"After the UFC deal was announced, WME — William Morris Endeavor — gave some of their clients an opportunity to purchase a small ownership stake in the UFC – I'm excited to announce that I was one of those clients," he said.

"I said ‘yes,’ and so now I technically own a piece of the UFC.

"I am now part of a group of investors that includes Ben Affleck, Tom Brady, Mark Wahlberg, Adam Levine, Cam Newton, LL Cool J, Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, Sylvester Stallone, just to name a very few."

Sharapova's involvement is not the first business investment the Russian tennis player has made.

She launched her own candy brand, Sugarpova, in 2012 and later became co-owner of lifestyle brand Supergroup.

Schwartzel noted the potential for growth in the UFC, particularly on digital platforms – something which would appeal to the new investors.

"WME-IMG plans for the UFC include more programing on the UFC's digital subscription service, which would provide more than just fights," he said.

The UFC has numerous big events lined up in the coming months, including Conor McGregor's bid to become the first simultaneous two-weight title holder at UFC 205 in New York City’s Madison Square Garden.

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