For the first time in 10 years, Marshall Zelaznik woke up on Wednesday unemployed.
Zelaznik, who wore many hats at Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC, was relieved of his duties on Tuesday, part of a company-wide downsizing by the new promotion's new owners, WME-IMG.
"The last 10 years with the UFC have been an incredible ride," Zelaznik said. "I was so lucky to work with the smartest, most creative and hard-working people in sport for a decade. It is those day-to-day relationships with my co-workers, fighters and all of our partners that I worked with that I will miss the most."
Zelaznik, who joined the UFC in September 2006 as president of the newly-formed United Kingdom division, departs as UFC chief content officer. He was one of many employees laid off this week. While the UFC declined to comment on a specific number, multiple sources say approximately 60-80 were let go over the past 72 hours.
"When I left iNDEMAND to join the UFC in 2006, some of my friends wondered if I was making a mistake. But -- like many of us who were around back then -- I believed the UFC would take its place among the greatest sports leagues in the world, if only we could get people to pay attention. Ten years on, I leave the UFC with a great sense of ‘mission accomplished.’"
Zelaznik was instrumental establishing the organization in the UK, Ireland, mainland Europe, the Middle East and Australia, along with launching the business unit many believe is the future of the company, the over-the-top subscription service UFC Fight Pass. He helped build UFC's content business into one the most widely-available sports properties in the world over his tenure.
"I was involved with some really cool initiatives at the UFC, and I’m very thankful for the opportunity to play a role in helping to grow the UFC and the sport of MMA. I’m looking forward to watching the sport continue to grow and will enjoy the fights now as big fan.
"I wish the very best for everyone at the UFC under the new leadership from WME-IMG."