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UFC confirms $4 billion sale to WME-IMG

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), teetering on the bring of bankruptcy in 2001 and bought for a firesale price of $2 million USD from Semaphore Entertainment Group by Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta has been sold for approximately $4.2 billion USD to talent agency juggernaut William Morris Endeavour (WME) and International Management Group (IMG).

Rumours of a sale were previously swirling around the company for weeks with repeated denials by the company. But president Dana White confirmed the sale with several media outlets last night via text.

“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,” Lorenzo Fertitta said in a UFC press release. “Most importantly, our new owners share the same vision and passion for this organization and its athletes.”


“Our goal has always been to put on the biggest and the best fights for our fans, and to make this the biggest sport in the world,” White said. “I’m looking forward to working with WME-IMG to continue to take this sport to the next level.”

The sale was originally reported first by The New York Times.

The Ferittas will retain a minority stake in the company while White will continue his role as president of the UFC. The deal has the financial backing of Silver Lake, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and MSD Capital/MSD Partners, the investment company of computer billionaire Michael Dell.

The company is coming off International Fight week and the UFC 200 card, it’s biggest card of the year.

Fighter Joe Lauzon, who recently competed at UFC 200, posted a UFC letter notifying him of the sale.

The UFC, 23 years old, has come a long way. It has outlasted and absorbed other rival promotions like Japan’s PRIDE and Strikeforce over the years to become the undisputed top MMA promotion in the world. It’s focused on global expansion, bringing its MMA product to over 156 countries, including new markets like Poland, Ireland, and Croatia.

The company has put on twenty (20) shows in Canada, starting in Montreal and expanding west to Calgary and Vancouver and east to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

It also has its own streaming service, UFC Fight Pass, which also stream local promotional events.

The sale is subject to traditional closing conditions. Terms of the sale were not released.


Kenai is a former Postmedia Network online news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.

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