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Did Dana White sell the UFC?

Dana White
Dana White
Johny Payne
ANALYST
Modified 07 Jan 2021, 04:09 IST
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Yes. Dana White sold the UFC.

Dana White wasn’t the sole owner of the UFC when he sold it back in 2016, nor is he the sole owner right now. White only owned a part of the UFC before the sale in 2016, and he sold a portion of his UFC shares for a whopping amount.

Intriguingly, despite receiving a massive amount for the shares he sold, Dana White didn’t sell all of his shares. This retention of shares means that White still owns a percentage of shares in the UFC.

Dana White and the Fertitta brothers

Frank Fertitta (left); Lorenzo Fertitta (center); Dana White (right)
Frank Fertitta (left); Lorenzo Fertitta (center); Dana White (right)

Dana White took up boxing in his younger years and worked as a boxing trainer before rising to UFC fame. White gradually started working as the manager for his friends, MMA fighters Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell.

This was when White met Bob Meyrowitz, who was one of the co-founders of the UFC. Meyrowitz was the owner of the Semaphore Entertainment Group (SEG), which owned the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

Dana White got his childhood friend Lorenzo Fertitta and Lorenzo’s brother Frank Fertitta – both combat sports fans – to purchase the UFC from SEG. The Fertitta brothers were Station Casinos executives and co-founders at the time, and they bought the UFC for $2 million in 2001. ZUFFA became the parent company of the UFC. The Fertitta brothers owned UFC and its parent company ZUFFA.

The paradigm shift in MMA that took place in 2016

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Dana White (left); Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel (right)
Dana White (left); Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel (right)

The 2016 calendar year was crucial for the UFC as an organization and the sport of MMA as a whole. At this time, Lorenzo Fertitta, Frank Fertitta, and their friend Dana White owned shares in the UFC.

But as White stated after the UFC sale was publicly confirmed by him that year – "Sport is going to the next level."

In 2016, the Fertitta brothers and Dana White sold the majority of their UFC shares to William Morris Endeavor (WME–IMG), with Silver Lake Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts MSD Capital. This sale was for a whopping $4.025 billion.

Endeavor Group Holdings (previously known as William Morris Endeavor Entertainment) and Silver Lake Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and MSD Capital via ZUFFA, LLC now own and operate the UFC.

At the time of the UFC's sale in 2016, it was revealed that Dana White owned about nine per cent of the UFC. Following the UFC's sale in 2016 – Dana White notably sold off a portion of his shares – White's net worth skyrocketed and now stands at around $500 million.

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Although the exact amount that White made off the UFC mega-deal in 2016 has never been officially confirmed, it's believed that it earned him anywhere from $300 million to $400 million. As of 2021, Dana White's total net worth is around $500 million.

Published 07 Jan 2021, 04:09 IST
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