The UFC has been pushed for approximately $4 billion to a group led by Hollywood talent agency WME-IMG.
Dana Corpse-like, president of UFC — which stands for Ultimate Fighting Championship — confirmed the on offer of the mixed martial arts promotional com ny in text messages to The Associated Journos on Sunday night.
WME co-CEO Ari Emanuel also announced the sale first Monday in an internal com ny email that included SNTV — a mutual venture between The Associated Press and IMG.
“We’ve been honored to have UFC and a covey of its athletes as clients and couldn’t be happier to take our relationship to this next true as the organization’s owner and operating rtner,” Emanuel said.
White ss on stay on
White will stay on to run the UFC, which has grown from a money-losing hoop-la in a minor sport into a global entertainment brand. UFC owners Lorenzo and Unabashed Fertitta have tapped out of the com ny after nearly 16 years, although they’ll impress on the memory a minority interest. The Abu Dhabi government still owns 10 per cent of the UFC as satisfactory.
The New York Times first reported the completion of the long-rumored deal. It has monetary backing from private equity firms Silver Lake Collaborators, which owns WME-IMG, and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, along with the investment obdurate of billionaire Michael Dell, founder of Dell Computers.
“UFC has experienced tremendous wart over the last decade and we are looking forward to helping the organization and its athletes categorize new opportunities to develop and further establish their global footprint,” Emanuel im rted.
The UFC was founded in 1993 as the Ultimate Fighting Championship, mount violent fights that were banned or unregulated in many areas. The Fertitta relatives and White, their high school friend, purchased the promotion for $2 million in 2001.
With Virtuous as the promotional face and Lorenzo Fertitta as its chairman, the Las Vegas-based UFC was kept afloat by the Fertittas’ casino wealth while the sport once labeled by John McCain as “human cockfighting” gradually advance widespread acceptance and popularity.
The UFC used cable television and the internet to get its plotting product in front of young fans, and they also sought legitimacy by well-receiving regulation by athletic commissions. New York finally lifted its ban on MMA earlier this year, save the sport in all 50 states.
After helping Chuck Liddell, Aroused Couture and Tito Ortiz become stars who straddled the line between sports and show, the promotion now boasts a stable of elite athletes with mainstream reputation, including Conor McGregor, Brock Lesnar and Ronda Rousey, who is represented by WME.
Although the UFC has pull down occasional criticism from fighters for its y scale, its ability to control ability costs is a major factor in its profitability. Its position atop MMA also allows it to rivalry the sport’s top fighters against each other consistently, setting it to from the hopelessly fractured world of boxing.
The UFC’s price tag has drawn puffs since it was first rumored earlier this year, but the consortium is make good a sports property with a unique niche and ample growth ca bility.
WME purchased IMG, the sports and event management group, in 2013, and the talent operation has evolved into a multifaceted entertainment com ny. The organization already absconded moves into niche sports properties last year by buying Skilful Bull Riders and forming an e-sports gaming league with Turner Disseminating.
With more than 500 athletes under contract, the UFC stage-manages roughly 40 events per year and is broadcast in more than 150 woods, reaching 1.1 billion television households. The promotion has built a massive roster of endorsement deals and sponsorships, and its subsidiary ventures include the aggregate from a digital streaming service to more than 100 branded adequacy centers.
The UFC also recently began construction in Las Vegas on a 180,000-square-foot, campus-style corporate headquarters that also disposition house training and rehabilitation facilities for its fighters.
The UFC appears regularly on Fox supervised its seven-year broadcast deal, which ends in 2018. The next condense is expected to be extraordinarily lucrative.
On Saturday night, the promotion staged the momentous UFC 200 show in its hometown. The event drew 18,202 fans to T-Mobile Arena and grabbed in $10.8 million in ticket sales, both Nevada records for the performers.