The worst-kept secret in mixed martial arts is now official: The Ultimate Fighting Championship sold itself for $4 billion to a new ownership group led by Hollywood talent agency WME-IMG, the organizations announced Monday.
UFC President Dana White confirmed the sale, adding that said that he will remain in charge of the day-to-day running of the organization, according to a statement released Monday.
White, together with brothers and casino magnates Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, partnered to buy the company for $2 million in 2001. Since then, it has since grown into one of the most popular sports properties in the world.
“No other sport compares to UFC,” said White. “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.”
I am honoured to have fought under the Fertitta regime! To have been mentored by these great people on this great business is a true honour!
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) July 11, 2016
The Fertitta brothers will continue to have a minority stake in UFC, while Lorenzo Fertitta will be stepping down as the chairman and CEO of the organization, according to USA Today.
Rumors about the sale of the company have been circulating since May, but at the time White denied that any sale was happening.
The organization held one of their most-anticipated events of the year with UFC 200 in Las Vegas on Saturday, which featured wins by Brock Lesnar, Daniel Cormier, and Amanda Nunes. Its tentpole UFC 202 event featuring Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz, set for Las Vegas in August, is expected to be one of the most popular in mixed martial arts history.
For a company that once nearly went bankrupt, $4 billion isn’t a bad selling price.