Podcast Ep 24: Nakisa Bidarian, CFO of the UFC and Founder of BAVAFA Companies

My guest today is Nakisa Bidarian, former CEO at Fertitta Capital and former CFO of the UFC. His remarkable upbringing helped lead him to become a successful consultant, investor, and operator. Before joining the UFC, Nakisa worked on acquisitions for an investment company funded by the government of Abu Dhabi. He then started working for Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, the owners of the UFC, in the years leading up to the sale of the business in 2016. After their exit of the business, Nakisa set up and ran Fertitta Capital for 3 years.

On today’s episode, we discussed Nakisa’s unique upbringing, his variety of motivation and success factors, along with how he learns from challenges. We also touched upon some of the more exciting investments he has made over the years and how he helped operate the UFC. It was an honor and a privilege to talk to Nakisa and I hope you find this conversation as valuable as I did.

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Show Notes

2:00 – Nakisa’s Upbringing. “All in all, as I was getting into grade 12, I’d been to 10 different schools. A very unstable life in terms of surroundings and friends but very stable in having an unbelievable mother who dedicated every waking minute of her life to us.”

16:30 – Motivation. “The number one driving factor of everything in my life is ‘do I enjoy it?’”

23:00 – Exciting Investments. “I was very, very excited about doing the [major gambling company] deal. It fell through but it was actually the pathway to my future. Unbeknownst to me, Abu Dhabi had developed a great relationship with Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, who I had heard about, but I knew nothing of something called the UFC.”

34:30 – Success Factors of the UFC. “As we got it to a level where it became a part of popular culture, it was driven by the ability to find and develop unique talent. Ronda Rousey is a perfect example of that.”

44:45 – Learning from Challenges. “The people you’re bringing on [in a company] need to understand what your objectives are at the company level and the group level they’re coming into. And then defining what your goals are for yourself and your team, and what your goals are for the role that you’re hiring.”

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