Zuffa har idag bekreftet at UFC nå er solgt.
The sale of the Ultimate Fighting Championship now is official.
William Morris Endeavor, along with International Management Group today announced its acquisition of the world’s leading MMA promotion through a news release. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though the Las Vegas CBS affilitate reported late Sunday the sale price was $4 billion.
Along with WME and IMG, Silver Lake Partners and KKR are along as investors, as are MSD Capital/MSD Partners.
WME-IMG is one of the world’s leading talent agencies, and its clients include former UFC women’s bantamweight champion and crossover star Ronda Rousey. The company’s CEOs are Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell.
Current UFC owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta III will retain a “passive minority interest” in the new company. Lorenzo Fertitta will step down as CEO after the deal is complete. Dana White will continue in his role as the UFC’s president.
“We’ve been fortunate over the years to represent UFC and a number of its remarkable athletes,” Emanuel and Whitesell said in a combined 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.”
White and Fertitta denied recent reports that the UFC’s sale was imminent, and Fertitta issued an email to UFC employees saying the company had not been sold. But White, who has a reported 9 percent ownership stake in the UFC, also said if someone was willing to offer $4 billion, he and the Fertittas, who own 80 percent, would listen.
UFC exec says reports of UFC sale are 'false,' internal email to staff offers same message
“We’re confident that the new ownership team of WME-IMG, with whom we’ve built a strong relationship over the last several years, is committed to accelerating UFC’s global growth,” Lorenzo Fertitta stated. “Most importantly, our new owners share the same vision and passion for this organization and its athletes.”
White said his priority will remain the same: to continue building the UFC brand and making MMA a global sport.
“Our goal has always been to put on the biggest and the best fights for our fans, and to make this the biggest sport in the world,” White stated. “I’m looking forward to working with WME-IMG to continue to take this sport to the next level.”
Dana White has message for UFC employees stressed about sale: 'Don't even worry about stuff like that'
In 2001, the Ferttitas purchased the UFC for $2 million from Semaphore Entertainment Group. The $4 billion sale is expected to be the largest for a franchise in sports history – an increase from that original $2 million pricetag of nearly 200,000 percent.
The UFC is coming off its biggest week of the year – International Fight Week in Las Vegas, which saw events take place on three consecutive nights this past week, culminating with the historic UFC 200 at the new T-Mobile Arena on Saturday.
For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.