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Report: UFC solicits bids to sell business for as much as $4 billion

Claire Greenway/Getty Images

UPDATE: Dana White has responded to the speculation, calling it "overblown" and fact-free.

Majority Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, as well as minority stakeholders Dana White and Flash Entertainment, have at least four bids on the table to sell the world's most-recognized mixed martial arts (MMA) league.

ESPN.com broke the news earlier this evening, reporting that sources close to the situation indicate that there are four potential suitors to buy the franchise. Chief among them is Dalian Wanda Group (DWG), a Chinese-based company whose chairman, Wang Jianlin, is worth an estimated $35 billion. DWG, reportedly, has submitted an offer to buy UFC, which Forbes valued at $1.65 billion less than two years ago, for somewhere between $3.5 billion to $4 billion. Other possible buyers include WME/IMG, China Media Capital and The Blackstone Group.

Unsurprisingly, UFC public relations executive Dave Sholler refused to provide meaningful comment on the report, telling ESPN.com the following:

"As a private company, we don't discuss speculation or rumors related to our business."

Zuffa LLC, UFC's parent company, purchased the promotion in 2001 for $2 million and have since turned it into a money-making monster. In fact, ESPN was also able to uncover this juicy nugget:

"... numbers presented to potential investors said that Goldman Sachs had represented UFC's last full year earnings in the $200 million to $250 million range, before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. A new television rights deal, which would begin in 2019, could add an additional $250 million in annual revenue to the bottom line, investors were advised."

More on this breaking news as it happens.

Editor's note: Thanks to OperaMMA for creating the initial FanPost.

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