For months Dana White has denied his billion-dollar company Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was in talks of transferring ownership to a new investment firm. He stated that it would take “load of cash,” upwards of over $4 billion. For many UFC fans, they felt White threw that number out there, knowing that it was highly unlikely anyone would fork over that kind of money for the company. However, someone did pay up, and a new investment group now owns the UFC. Dana White will remain the head of the company and control the day-to-day operations.
Sixteen years ago, the UFC was a money-losing company that no one wanted to invest in. It seemed to be mostly underground and not accepted by most boxing fans. Today, the company is worth over $4 billion dollars and is quickly growing and expanding.
The sale of the enterprise mostly benefited the Fertitta brothers, who owned a majority of the company. Reportedly, Dana White owned about 9 percent of the company and walked away with a pretty big payday as well. Not only did he fetch an upwards of $400,000 when the company sold, but he kept his position as head of the UFC. It’s not a bad deal at all for Dana.
Everything Lubbock reports that White released a statement and said he was excited about what was next for the UFC.
“No other sport compares to UFC. 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.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.”
MMA Junkie reports that this is the largest single transaction purchase in sports history. The UFC schedule is full for over a year and has an intense buildup for the highly anticipated Madison Square Garden venue in New York City in November. Earlier in the year, New York legalized MMA. The UFC seems to be growing at a rapid rate, and Dana White explains he will be there “every step of the way.”
“UFC has experienced tremendous growth over the last decade and we are looking forward to helping the organization and its athletes identify new opportunities to develop and further establish their global footprint.”
UFC fighters sent their congratulations to the new owners and called for a change in the pay structure for the fighters. Apparently, unless you are a big name like Conor McGregor or Ronda Rousey, you do not make millions per fight. Featherweight Jeremy Stephens took to social media to say that the new owners should implement a 46/54 percent revenue so all UFC fighters are paid their worth, not just the big names.
Currently, there are over 500 fighters under contract, and the company has over 40 events throughout the year — both pay-per-view (PPV) and shows on the Fox Sports Network. UFC also has a “Fight Pass” that is similar to Netflix for MMA fans and is supposed to be a building block for the company’s continued growth.
Fox Sports’ contract with the UFC will end in 2018, and they expected to ink a new deal. Reportedly, Fox Sports could make nearly double when they sign the new deal.
WME-IMG purchased UFC with the hope that the billion-dollar company will take their investment group to new heights. The Fertitta brothers and the Abu Dhabi government will keep a small stock in the UFC (10 percent each).
UFC fans, are you surprised by the change in ownership? Are you happy that Dana White will stay with the company? Stick with the Inquisitr for UFC news and updates.
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