The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has been sold for approximately $4 billion (€3.6bn) to a group of owners, including WME-IMG as well as private equity firms Silver Lake, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Michael S. Dell. The company held its UFC 200 pay-per-view event on July 9th, which it expects to be a record-breaker in terms of sales.
The deal will see primary owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta bow out of the organisation for the most part, with their majority shares representing the biggest part of the sale of the UFC. The Fertitta brothers, along with childhood friend Dana White, bought the UFC in 2001 for a reported $2 million before growing it into a global phenomenon.
White is expected to stay on as president of the UFC while also running the day-to-day operations of the company. The promotion will remain based out of Las Vegas, and there are no major staffing changes expected with the new ownership group in charge.
The new owners of the UFC will include a conglomerate of investors with WME-IMG leading the group. WME-IMG is best known as a talent and sports agency headed up by Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell.
Emanuel has been a friend and business partner with the UFC for several years and played an integral part in the seven-year TV deal that the promotion signed with FOX in 2011.
The UFC 100 PPV currently holds the sales records with its long-standing record of 1.6 million buys. Sale figures for UFC 200 won’t be confirmed for a few weeks yet.