The highest paid Hollywood executive in 2020 reportedly received a package of over $50 million. In 2021, Endeavor executives blew that number out of the window, with SEC filings showing that Ari Emanuel had a pay package of $308,177,233.
That $308M value could still change though, as the bulk of Emanuel’s massive pay will come in stock that was awarded to him as part of Endeavor’s 2021 IPO. Endeavor noted that Emanuel’s recognized compensation for the year is $67.5 million, with the rest of his payout being in stock that’s tied to the company’s value and performance.
To put more context, Wall Street Journal reports that Emanuel’s valued payday not only tops all Hollywood executives, it’s also the highest figure for any CEO in the S&P 500 so far. The outlet also notes how the UFC owner’s unprecedented pay package now rivals executives at big tech firms.
SEC filings also show that other Endeavor executives received massive paydays in 2021 with similar stock grants. Executive chairman Patrick Whitesell’s compensation was over $123 million ($11M recognized pay), while Endeavor President Mark Shapiro had $42 million ($17.4M recognized pay), CFO Jason Lublin had $18 million ($7.1M recognized pay), and Chief Communication Officer Christian Muirhead getting $12 million ($3.2M recognized pay).
The two top earners from Endeavor alone have their 2021 compensation valued at $431 million. Those numbers have significantly increased from their 2020 compensation packages that saw Emanuel and Whitesell earn $14.4 million and $3.2 million, respectively.
Endeavor wrote about their huge payouts in the SEC filing, saying “while such awards could result in substantial compensation to our executives, we believe they further align our CEO and Executive Chairman with our shareholders’ interests.”
Endeavor, which has a huge chunk of their revenue and earnings come from the UFC, recently announced that the MMA world leader broke financial records in 2021. In the same earnings call, UFC owners and Endeavor executives also tried to defend the issue of fighter pay and their low wage share, while also claiming they have done “very very well” paying fighters.
The UFC’s own documents show how they’ve targeted to maintain fighter payouts at just 17% of their revenue for years. Even in a conservative estimate where they somehow bumped that up to 20% in 2021, Emanuel’s pay package alone would still be well over $100 million more than what they gave their entire roster of over 600 fighters that year.
Add Whitesell’s pay, and the two UFC owners’ valued payout of $431 million would likely be more than double the total of what they paid every single UFC fighter in 2021.