Monday morning (July 11) the UFC announced the sale of the company for $4 billion, which is the largest sports business transaction for an organization ever. The Hollywood based talent agency WME-IMG is said to be teaming with its owner Silver Lake Partners and others to purchase the mixed martial arts company.
The selling of the UFC has been rumored since last month, but president Dana White denied the sale until last night when he and WME-IMG CEO spoke to ESPN about the deal.
White said the sale was bittersweet. Fans should not be concerned about the change in ownership.”Exact opposite,” White said. “Sport is going to the next level.”
Last 5 days in MMA: Jones pulled from 200, 3 events, 2 title changes, record-breaking 200 happens, Lesnar returns, UFC sold. What a stretch.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 11, 2016
“We’ve been fortunate over the years to represent UFC and a number of its remarkable athletes,” WME-IMG co-CEOs Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell said in a statement. “It’s been exciting to watch the organization’s incredible growth over the last decade under the leadership of the Fertitta brothers, Dana White and their dedicated team. We’re now committed to pursuing new opportunities for UFC and its talented athletes to ensure the sport’s continued growth and success on a global scale.”
Brothers, Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, both will step down as CEOs of UFC with the deal, after purchasing it for only two million dollars back in 2001. They will stay on as a minority owner. Dana White will also still serve as president during the transition, and have more of a stake in the business.
The UFC brought in about 600 million dollars in revenue for 2015 according to CNN.