Sources: UFC Sale Completed to William Morris Endeavor-led Group

Dana White
Despite proclamations to the contrary by the promotion, sources have indicated the UFC has indeed been sold by long-time owners Zuffa LLC to an investment group led by the William Morris Endeavor-IMG agency. 

Multiple sources confirmed the news to FloCombat early Wednesday morning. Text messages to UFC President Dana White and Vice President of Public Relations Dave Sholler requesting comment went unanswered as of press time. 

Our sources said that the basics of the deal was finalized during a dinner meeting in Hollywood last Sunday between Lorenzo Fertitta, Ari Emanuel—the CEO of WME-IMG and one of the most powerful men in entertainment—and other UFC and WME-IMG executives. The exact sale figure is not known at this time, though FloCombat sources indicated it is in the range of $4 billion US dollars.

Months ago, the investment banking firm Goldman Sachs was tasked with handling a sealed bidding process for prospective buyers to submit purchasing bids. The winning investment group also includes Dalian Wanda, China's largest commercial property owner and operator of the largest chain of movie theaters in the world; Tencent, the owner of China's largest internet portal and search engine; and the Kraft Group, the owners of American sports franchises including the New England Patriots.

On June 9, Variety reported that WME-IMG announced a "joint venture" with Sequoia Capital China that would allow WME/IMG to quickly accelerate growth in one of the world's toughest international markets to penetrate. WME/IMG already has a significant presence in the Chinese market, however, with recent investments in the Chinese Super League and mass athletic competitions such as Tough Mudder.

Combine WME/IMG's already stable presence in the Chinese market with the massive power of Tencent's internet power, and it's easy to see why a purchase of the UFC was considered an attractive proposition. Mainland China is the last remaining untapped market for the UFC, and the new China-heavy ownership will have an easier time running events on the mainland rather than on the offshore island of Macau. 

FloCombat sources previously indicated that 100% of the UFC was involved in the sale, and that the Fertitta Brothers would leave the UFC to focus on the expansion of their Las Vegas casino empire. White, who owns approximately 8.89% of the company, was said to be cashing out to the tune of $320 million US dollars. But our sources also said that the new ownership group would grant White a new ownership stake in order to entice him to continue in his role as president and promoter. 

As far as Fertitta's CEO role is concerned, several names have been mentioned by our sources. One is Garry Cook, the former executive of the Manchester City Football Club. Another potential CEO candidate is Emanuel himself, though with his busy schedule it would be difficult to imagine him having the time to devote to running the UFC's business operations. 

The new ownership will not take effect until all paperwork is finalized. But multiple sources told FloCombat that an announcement of the sale is expected to take place at some point during the UFC's upcoming International Fight Week in July, which is capped off by a massive UFC 200 card featuring three title fights and the return of former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar. 

Stay tuned for updates to this story with developments as they occur. 

How to Watch: FloSports FIGHTNIGHT LIVE: RDR Promotions

Combat-Logo-Overlay

Here's how to watch the FloSports FIGHTNIGHT LIVE: RDR Promotions on FloCombat.

FIGHTNIGHT LIVE Signs With FloSports

fight.jpg

NEW YORK (March 2, 2021) – As regional boxing and MMA promotions re-emerge amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, FIGHTNIGHT LIVE returns to deliver all the action to fight fans, now under the FloSports banner. Beginning with the Saturday, March 6 RDR Promotions card featuring a host of Philly and New Jersey prospects, the popular platform makes FloCombat its new home with a blockbuster multi-event deal.  

How to Watch: FloSports FIGHTNIGHT LIVE: RDR Promotions

Combat-Logo-Overlay

Here's how to watch the FloSports FIGHTNIGHT LIVE: RDR Promotions on FloCombat.

How to Watch: FloSports FIGHTNIGHT LIVE: RDR Promotions

Combat-Logo-Overlay

Here's how to watch the FloSports FIGHTNIGHT LIVE: RDR Promotions on FloCombat.

How to Watch: FloSports FIGHTNIGHT LIVE: RDR Promotions

Combat-Logo-Overlay

Here's how to watch the FloSports FIGHTNIGHT LIVE: RDR Promotions on FloCombat.

How to Watch: FloSports FIGHTNIGHT LIVE: RDR Promotions

Combat-Logo-Overlay

Here's how to watch the FloSports FIGHTNIGHT LIVE: RDR Promotions on FloCombat.

How to Watch: XFN 36

Combat-Logo-Overlay

Here's how to watch the XFN 36 on FloCombat.

How to Watch: XFN 35

Combat-Logo-Overlay

Here's how to watch the XFN 35 on FloCombat.

How to Watch Fight to Win 164: Vagner Rocha vs Yuri Simoes

602d37b232502.jpg

Fight to Win will see two no-gi grappling titans face off on Friday, February 19, 2021 as Vagner Rocha moves up in weight to take on two-time ADCC champion Yuri Simoes in the main event of Fight to Win 164. 

Kennedy Maciel To Face Diego Pato in Title Defense at Fight to Win 163

60243dec9bb82.jpg

The biggest party in grappling will kick off a three-week visit to Dallas on Saturday, February 13 with Fight To Win 163, featuring three high-profile matches, including a gi featherweight title fight. Diego “Pato” Oliveira will try to take Kennedy Maciel’s title in the main event. Before that, brown belt submission hunter Pedro Marinho will face Matheus Luna, and Aaron Tex Johnson will take on Max Gimenis.