When ZUFFA sold Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) for a whopping $4 billion to WME-IMG back in 2017, many in the business and sports worlds felt Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta had pulled off a deal of a lifetime with the Hollywood-based company.
And while the billionaire brothers did make out alright, it seems Ari Emanuel and Co. are the ones who are really cashing in and enjoying the last laugh. That’s because the world’s leading mixed martial arts (MMA) organization is now allegedly worth $7 billion. That’s according to UFC president Dana White, of course, who told business guru Tony Robbins that the promotion’s value went up significantly after its mega deal with ESPN.
“When Ari bought the company (the media said) he overpaid for it. These guys are in big trouble now, they have so much debt, they are this, they are that. The TV deal is up with FOX, everything,” he added.
“And a lot of these things are true. Our TV deal is up with FOX, we do have a lot of debt, but we knew that going in. Then everybody keeps asking me, ‘Why did you stay?’ When you make that kind of money; there is this thing about ‘fuck you money.’ Everybody knows that term. ‘Man, I am going to tell my boss to kiss my ass if I ever get that lottery.’ If you are looking for ‘fuck you money,’ then you are in the wrong job. You already know you are not in the right place,” said the outspoken head honcho.
“I just made more money than I ever dreamed I would make. I don’t want to leave. What am I going to do? I hate three-day weekends. I want Monday to come again because that is how much I love what I do. I made all this money, but Ari gave me my ownership to stay, so I stayed. We just did a deal with ESPN for $1.5 billion for five years. Now the company is worth $7 billion.”
Indeed, White signed a five-year contract extension to stay with UFC after scoring a $360 million payout following the sale to WME-IMG (now known as Endeavor). One of the biggest moves for White and Co. following the sale was inking a massive television deal with ESPN after its current contract with FOX Sports expired.
To see Dana’s full interview with Robbins click play in the embedded video player below: