The UFC has reportedly been sold for $4 billion to a group including William Morris Endeavor (WME), International Management Group (IMG), Silver Lake, KKR and MSD Capital, with an official announced expected to be made on Monday.
The news was reported by CBS Affiliate KLAS-TV in Las Vegas, who are set to have an exclusive interview with Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White on Monday morning.
The deal was signed on Saturday night and will see Lorenzo Fertitta step down as chairman, though both he and his brother Frank will still hold a minor stake, while Dana White will remain on-board as president of the company in addition to also retaining a minor stake.
Rumors of the UFC sale have been circulating for months, though Dana White had continually denied that was the case and even threatened legal action against reporter Jeremy Botter for his reporting on the story recently.
Zuffa’s sale of the UFC will go down as one of the greatest financial deals in sporting history, with the company initially being bought for just $2 million 15 years ago, and initially having to struggle through long periods of great uncertainty, while incurring alarming losses, before gradually being turned into a highly successful business.
While this deal is the largest franchise sale in sporting history, there’s still plenty of room for growth for the company, with expansion into the Asian market sure to be on the agenda, while lucrative U.S TV rights for the UFC will be back up for grabs in 2018.
It remains to be seen what, if any, major changes the new ownership group will look to make to the way the UFC operates going forward, but with Dana White still set to play an important role, it’s likely the message will be that it’s going to be ‘business as usual.’