UFC Sold in Unprecedented $4 Billion Deal
League's main owners originally bought the company in 2000 for only $2 million.
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Following this weekend's UFC 200, it has now been confirmed that the league itself has been sold for $4 billion. The New York Times reports that talent agency WME-IMG has purchased the league with backing from private equity companies such as Silver Lake, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and billionaire Michael Dell's private investment firm.
An official announcement is expected as soon as later today, July 11, but UFC president Dana White already confirmed the sale to ESPN. According to the sports media giant, $4 billion represents the biggest transaction for an organization in sports history.
The UFC's main owners, casino investor brothers Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, bought the league in 2000 for only $2 million. They run the UFC under a company called Zuffa (which means "fight" in Italian) and are expected to stay on as minority investors after the deal goes through.
In May, Dana White appeared on the Dan Patrick Show and addressed rumors of a UFC sale.
"We're not up for sale," White said, as reported by the Review Journal. "We're always working on deals and our expansion globally. I've been saying since this thing came out, 'No, we're not for sale.' But let me tell you what--if somebody shows up with $4 billion, we can talk."
Here is what he said today on Twitter after the story broke:
?— Dana White (@danawhite) July 11, 2016
An EA Sports representative told GameSpot about the sale, "We do not expect the acquisition of UFC by WME | IMG to change the existing relationship and agreement between EA and the UFC. Like all fight fans, we're excited to see the sport grow to the next level."
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