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Midnight Mania! Fertitta brothers reported to have sold remaining UFC shares, ending an era for MMA

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The Fertitta brothers, who bought the UFC for a song and 2 million dollars in 2001, have sold their remaining stake in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, according to a report by Forbes.com. They received a 26% premium on their remaining 5.8% stake from the original ~4 billion dollar sale price, based on a recent evaluation that put the worth of the UFC at 5 billion dollars.

The Fertitta brothers have put some of the 2 billion they are each valuated at into their shiny new investment vehicle, Fertitta Capital, and, of course, Station Casinos, the Las Vegas business that predated their UFC involvement. Time will tell whether we will see them follow their cousin’s lead and buy another sports franchise.

The legacy of the Fertittas in mixed martial arts (MMA) is, well, a mixed one. Along with the bombastic Dana White, they take credit for saving the UFC from being just another failed experiment, a freak sideshow consigned to the dustbin of history along with many others before it. They established what amounts to a monopoly at the top of the MMA food chain, and while they can be taken to task over issues like fighter pay and the draconian Reebok deal, they have been phenomenally successful at making money for themselves in mixed martial arts, with the UFC making 600 million dollars in 2015, and probably even more in 2016. They took the UFC to big Fox, putting mixed martial arts on our screens nearly every weekend in some format.

They have also successfully fought for and achieved approval and regulation for the sport in every state in America, as well as several foreign markets. Their rule established a stringent drug testing protocol that has sometimes raised more questions than answers, but was a genuine response to an obvious problem.


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