UFC received $3.2 million grant from Singapore Tourism Board in 2022

Originally published at UFC received $3.2 million grant from Singapore Tourism Board in 2022

A recent filing has shown that UFC, much like an MMA fighter on a winning night, takes home two paychecks for its trips to Singapore: The promotion earned money off ticket sales when in the country, and has received millions in the past from the city-state’s tourism board.

UFC was given a government grant of $4.28 million Singapore Dollars—the equivalent of roughly $3.2 million U.S. Dollars—for hosting an event in Singapore, per a filing recently obtained by POST Wrestling.

An annual financial report submitted just over a year ago by Zuffa Singapore Pte. Ltd., a subsidiary of TKO Group Holdings, showed that they were approved for a grant by the Singapore Tourism Board “for the project known as UFC Singapore Fight Week.”

UFC came to Singapore in June 2022 for UFC 275, with a light heavyweight title bout between Jiri Prochazka and Glover Teixeira in the main event. UFC has returned once since then, hosting a “Fight Night” card last August with Max Holloway and The Korean Zombie headlining. Both events were sponsored by Singapore Tourism’s “Passion Made Possible” brand.

It’s unclear whether the grant paid for UFC’s 2022 event, or the one that followed, or potentially both. POST Wrestling reached out to TKO Group Holdings for clarification but did not receive a response. A request for comment was also sent to the Singapore Tourism Board.

On top of the more than the three million dollars UFC earned from a grant in 2022, the company reported revenue of $2 million Singapore Dollars (roughly $1.5 million USD) from ticket sales for its pay-per-view event that year.

The recently obtained document provides another exact figure to illustrate how much UFC is earning from site fees.

Along with fellow TKO-owned company WWE, UFC has placed high importance on being paid by governments to visit locations in recent years.

Last year, TKO’s Mark Shapiro said that they have received “roughly $25 million” in the past to host fight cards in Abu Dhabi. He also stated that they will earn $20 million for hosting a card in Saudi Arabia later this year.

UFC has even looked to extract site fees from locations they are already famous for traveling to. News broke last week that the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority will pay $250,000 to host “International Fight Week” this June. For more than a decade, UFC’s “International Fight Week” has exclusively been in Vegas.

Governments and their tourism boards pay site fees for events to help boost the relevance of the location they represent. Broadcasts will often make special mention of a location’s benefits, from notable natural or architectural visuals to even a burgeoning financial state, in hopes of painting the area in a flattering fashion.

Site fees have become an important part of UFC’s business model amid a massive shift in how the promotion has planned its schedule. UFC was a travel-heavy brand before the COVID-19 pandemic, visiting 15 different countries and 20 different U.S. cities in 2019. 

But the leading MMA brand has become much more selective of where they visit in recent years: Instead of spending money promoting events in different locations each week, the promotion has opted to host a fraction of its cards inside their UFC APEX studio location in Las Vegas. The UFC APEX has been used for five events in 2024 thus far, with four more scheduled in the venue later this year as well.

A significant number of non-studio shows have taken place at locations that are willing to pay a fee to lure UFC products there, whether it be an international city or a spot inside the U.S.

WWE has focused on obtaining site fees for special events recently as well. The promotion notoriously has visited Saudi Arabia for numerous Premium Live Events since striking a deal with the Ministry of Sport in 2018. In February, WWE received $16 million to host the Elimination Chamber in Perth, Australia. 

The Singapore Tourism Board has invested in MMA before. The government board has provided sponsorship for ONE Championship in the past, as well as older UFC cards.