Hey, remember a few weeks back when Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White said the world's largest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion was NOT for sale and that everyone should just shut up and mind their own beeswax?
Yeah ... about that.
WME | IMG today (Mon., July 11, 2016) announced the acquisition of UFC, which reportedly came at a cost of $4 billion, and will have UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta step down from his current position (which explains this). UFC President Dana White, however, will remain on.
Because what would UFC be without Uncle Dana? Wait, don't answer that!
"We've been fortunate over the years to represent UFC and a number of its remarkable athletes," said WME | IMG Co-CEOs Ariel Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell in today's release. "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."
WME | IMG's strategic investment partners include leading global investment firms Silver Lake and KKR. I don't know who they are or why they are so rich, but I'm sure they've done something that merits a golf clap, at the very least.
UFC and its fighters -- lest we forget about them -- have never been more popular (and profitable), particularly in the wake of legalization in New York (more on that here). Its bicentennial event, UFC 200: "Tate vs. Nunes," went down just last weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada, and is expected to do gangbusters at the pay-per-view (PPV) box office.
Welcome to the new UFC!