CHA-CHING: The UFC Has Reportedly Been Sold To Investors For $4.2Billion

There’s profitable investments. And then there’s the sporting equivalent of buying IBM stock in the 40s.

The sale of mixed martial arts behemoth UFC has been pending for a good number of months now, and has been subject to rumour and speculation ever since it was revealed owning company Zuffa LLC were looking to cash out.
The company, founded and essentially run by Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, bought the then-fledgling fighting organisation back in 2001 for a practically minuscule sum of $2million. Fast forward 15 years, and the company has exploded into being one of the most popular, and most profitable fighting organisations in the world.
Now, with the sport’s popularity greater than ever, and with the historic UFC 200 a mere matter of weeks away, the Fertitta’s have reportedly reached a deal that would see the UFC sold to a consortium group for a whopping price tag of FOUR POINT TWO BILLION DOLLARS.
That’s a hell of a return on investment, even if you factor in the $40million-odd that Zuffa poured into the company to save it from the brink of collapse.

And the sale starts to get particularly interesting when you start considering exactly who is the company’s new owners.

The WME-IMG group is essentially a talent representation agency that recently combined an acting/talent agency (WME) who represents people like Ben Affleck, Oprah, and James Franco, with a sports/entertainment representation agency (IMG) who has worked with the likes of Tiger Woods, Pete Sampras, and Arnold Palmer.
Dalian Wanda is a Chinese conglomerate who just so happens to be the world’s largest private property developer and owner, as well as the owner of a number of large global cinema chains (including Hoyts). They also own a 20% stake in Atletico Madrid.
The Kraft Group is an American sports ownership institution, and are the current owners of the NFL’s New England Patriots, as well as the glittering Gillette Stadium where the Pats play their home games.
Tencent Holdings, another Chinese group, is an investment holding company whose stakes are largely tied up in internet products, social media, telecommunications, and gaming.
The company sale would represent a total sale of the UFC, meaning a previous sale of 10% of the company would be folded into it.
It’s unclear what this means for the structure of the company moving forward, particularly for President and promoter Dana White, but you’d imagine, given the rampant and continued success of the company and the cards it puts together, an “if it ain’t broke” approach would be taken.
Who knows what direction the company will take, but all we know for certain is that it now has an absolute shitload of money behind it.

Source: Uproxx.
Photo: Josh Hedges, Zuffa LLC/Getty.