The first event was held in 1993 at the McNichols Sports Arena in Denver, Colorado. The purpose of the early Ultimate Fighting Championship competitions was to identify the most effective martial art in a contest with minimal rules and no weight classes between competitors of different fighting disciplines. In subsequent events, fighters began adopting effective techniques from more than one discipline, which indirectly helped create a separate style of fighting known as present-day mixed martial arts. In 2016, UFC's parent company, Zuffa, was sold to a group led by Endeavor, then known as William Morris Endeavor (WME–IMG), including Silver Lake Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and MSD Capital for US$4.025 billion. In 2021, Endeavor bought out Zuffa's other owners at a valuation of $1.7 billion.
With a TV deal and expansion in Australia, Asia, Europe, and new markets within the United States, the UFC has increased in popularity, and has achieved greater mainstream media coverage; the promotion brought in a total revenue of US$609 million in 2015, and its next domestic media rights agreement with ESPN was valued at $1.5 billion over a five-year term.