Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta purchased the UFC for $2 million in 2001. Fifteen years later, they’ve cashed out.
UFC president Dana White confirmed to The Associated Press and ESPN.com late Sunday night that the wildly popular mixed martial arts circuit has been purchased for a reported $4 billion by a group led by talent agency WME-IMG.
The UFC officially announced the sale Monday morning.
“No other sport compares to UFC,” White said in a statement. “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. I’m looking forward to working with WME-IMG to continue to take this sport to the next level.”
White will remain on as president of UFC, a role he has held since 2001.
Rounding out the new ownership group are Silver Lake Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and MSD Capital, the investment firm of Dell founder Michael Dell.
“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 joint 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.”
The Fertittas and White all will retain minority stakes in the company.
UFC 200 on Saturday featured a 12-bout card at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena, highlighted by Amanda Nunes’ first-round upset of bantamweight title-holder Miesha Tate and Brock Lesnar’s beatdown of Mark Hunt in the WWE star’s return to the UFC after a five-year absence.
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