UFC sold to WME-IMG for $4 billion
Zuffa has sold the UFC to a group headlined by WME-IMG for roughly $4 billion, the leading talent agency announced Monday.
Silver Lake Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and MSD Capital are also involved in the largest-ever purchase of a sports organization.
"We've been fortunate over the years to represent UFC and a number of its remarkable athletes," WME-IMG co-CEOs Ariel Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell said in a 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."
The Fertitta brothers, Lorenzo and Frank, bought the UFC in 2000 for $2 million, bringing an incredible return on the investment. At the time, the UFC was on the fringe of the sports world and unable to even air on PPV, but under White and the Fertitta brothers, the organization has grown into a global phenomenon that is watched in over 150 countries.
White, UFC's president, will continue in his role and will receive a new - but reportedly lesser stake - in the company under the new management.
"No other sport compares to UFC," White said. "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. I'm looking forward to working with WME-IMG to continue to take this sport to the next level."
The Fertitta brothers will also stay on as minority investors.
The deal follows the historic UFC 200 on Saturday, which featured multiple title fights and the return of Brock Lesnar. The event was also muddled by controversy and the removal of Jon Jones from the card.