Reports surfaced earlier this week of the UFC selling their promotion in the near future. Dana White has claimed this isn’t true. What’s really going on?
On May 10th, ESPN made gambling news when they reported that the UFC owners were in negotiations to sell the promotion. At least four companies are being considered, with the winning bid expected to be around $3.5 to $4 billion. This is one of the biggest stories in recent MMA history, and could mean big changes for the sport moving forward.
The UFC was purchased by casino moguls Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta in January of 2001 for a meager $2 million. At the time, it was seen as a bad investment by almost every financial advisor working with the Fertitta’s. By 2004, Zuffa (the parent company of the UFC) has lost $34 million dollars, and the UFC owners selling their promotion seemed inevitable.
In 2005, as a last-ditch effort to turn their sport around, the UFC launched the first season of the Ultimate Fighter. This show was a major success, and catapulted the UFC into the billion dollar enterprise it is today. Now, 11 years later, it appears that the UFC could be sold. Many questions are now arising as to what this will mean for the sport.
UFC president Dana White is denying these rumors
It did not take long for Dana White to respond. He told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the UFC “was not for sale,” and discredited the story as lacking facts. White elaborated further on The Dan Patrick Show by stating, “We’re always working on deals and our expansion globally. I’ve been saying since this thing came out, no, we’re not for sale, but let me tell you what. If somebody shows up with $4 billion, we can talk. We can definitely talk.”
Interpret that as you will. White is adamant that ESPN’s story of the UFC owners selling their promotion is false, and they are looking to expand, not sell. Neither of the Fertitta brothers has commented on the matter yet.
More news of this deal will surely come up soon. For now, we look ahead to UFC 198 where Fabricio Werdum will attempt to defend his heavyweight belt against the always tough Stipe Miocic. Check out GamingZion’s online sportsbook for the betting odds.
What do you think? Are the UFC owners selling their promotion? Was the ESPN story a hoax? Leave your comments below!