MMA News: UFC officially sold to WME-IMG for $4 billion
July 11th, 2016 will go down as D-Day in the chronicles of MMA. The UFC has officially been sold to American talent giant WME-IMG for a staggering $4 billion. WME-IMG has partnered with Silver Lake Partners, KKR and MSD Capital to complete the purchase.
Lorenzo Fertitta will step down as CEO but both he and his brother Frank will maintain a minority stake in the company. Dana White, who owns a 9% stake in the MMA juggernaut, will remain unchanged as President.
WME-IMG co-CEOs Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell spoke about the watershed moment, saying, “We've been fortunate over the years to represent UFC and a number of its remarkable athletes.
“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 Fertitta brothers bought the floundering outfit in 2000 for $2 million. With this sale, they have recorded a 142,700% return on investment, after adjusting for inflation. Dana White reassured espn.com that the change in ownership would not depredate the sport at all, saying, “Exact opposite. Sport is going to the next level.”
Lorenzo Fertitta was positive about the decision, saying, “We're confident that the new ownership team of WME-IMG, with whom we've built a strong relationship over the last several years, is committed to accelerating UFC's global growth. Most importantly, our new owners share the same vision and passion for this organization and its athletes.”