LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 06: UFC president Dana White interacts with media during the UFC 249 press … [+]
Earlier this week, UFC president Dana White said the promotion had not laid off a single employee. Today, a Variety article challenged that assertion, but White strongly denied the report that layoffs were going to hit the UFC.
“I have over 350 employees who work for me,” White said earlier this week during an Instagram Live chat with UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. “Multibillion-dollar companies are laying off all their employees right now. We haven’t laid off one person at the UFC.”
On Wednesday morning, Variety reported that the UFC’s parent company, Endeavor, was laying off employees and that “the majority of staff cuts have hit IMG Academy, a sports education facility, and support staff at businesses including talent agency WME and UFC. The cuts affect facilities workers and mailroom employees who cannot fulfill their duties from home, said one insider.”
Variety later updated its story to excise the reference to the UFC. The new version reads, “The majority of staff cuts have hit IMG Academy, a sports education facility, and support staff at businesses including talent agency WME and affiliates.”
White addressed the report during an Instagram Live chat later in the day, saying: “Nobody will lose their job at the UFC. Nobody’s getting laid off. It’s not going to happen. The other side of Endeavor laid some people off. I’m not laying anybody off. It’s not going to happen.”
The coronavirus pandemic has forced the UFC to postpone three events because of restrictions on public gatherings. The promotion is doing everything it can to stage UFC 249 on its scheduled date, April 18. The event cannot take place in Brooklyn, where it was originally booked, but White told Yahoo’s Kevin Iole during an Instagram Live chat that he was working on finding a location for the event on that date.
As for Endeavor, co-CEO Ari Emanuel wrote to employees in a memo printed by Variety: “We are in the process of assessing our operations globally to develop a plan that will protect the business while limiting the impact on as many employees as possible. In addition to the cost-cutting efforts outlined a few weeks ago, we will be implementing a number of additional measures beginning this week and through April that will affect compensation and some jobs across the company.
“The effects on each business will vary, and you will receive more specifics from your respective leaders, to the extent any of these decisions may impact you. As part of this, (co-CEO) Patrick (Whitesell) and I will not be taking a salary for the remainder of 2020.”
Endeavor did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the Variety report.