The Ultimate Fighting Championship is for sale, according to a report by respected ESPN business reporter Darren Rovell.
The report indicates that there are multiple suitors that are already in the advanced stages of talks to purchase the UFC, which is currently owned by Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta with minority stakes held by UFC president Dana White and Flash Entertainment, a business owned by the Abu Dhabi government.
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The leader in the race for the UFC is reportedly a Chinese-based firm called Dalian Wanda Group. Others vying for the MMA juggernaut are reportedly WME/IMG, China Media Capital, The Blackstone Group. Interestingly, WME/IMG is the company that represents former bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.
It was unclear if the UFC would be sold in its entirety, but the ESPN report certainly sounded as if that were the likely option.
UFC Vice President of Public Relations Dave Sholler told MMAWeekly.com, “As a private company, we don’t discuss speculation or rumors related to our business.”
Speculation that the UFC has been shopped around have been floating around for quite some time, although none of MMAWeekly.com’s sources had first-hand knowledge of any of the reported negotiations.
Although the UFC started in November of 1993, the Fertitta brothers didn’t purchase it until 2001, when Zuffa LLC took ownership of the company for $2 million. The Fertittas dumped upwards of $40 million into the company before it turned the corner with the success of the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter reality series. They’ve never looked back.
Lorenzo Fertitta told CNN in December that the UFC grossed roughly $600 million last year, but Rovell’s report put the valuation of the company between $3.5 billion and $4 ….View full article