The UFC is about to cash in—maybe.
ESPN’s Darren Rovell reported on Tuesday that the business is in the process of being sold and the value of the deal could be around $4 billion—not bad for a company that once was purchased for $2 million. The report claims that “at least” four bidders have put in offers to buy the UFC, including WME/IMG, China Media Capital, The Blackstone Group and Dalian Wanda Group.
BREAKING: UFC owners in advanced talks to sell business for as much as $4 BILLION https://t.co/0zJvRGu6yl
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) May 10, 2016
But is the organization actually getting sold? UFC President Dana White spoke later on Tuesday with the Las Vegas Review-Journal and said that the company is “not for sale” and that the “ESPN story is overblown.”
White likely wouldn’t comment publically anyway if the company was being being sold, but he was unflinching in his comments, adding that “Darren Rovell is not a fan of facts. His facts could not be further off.”
White later went on the Dan Patrick Show on Wednesday and said that something else could be in the works: “The UFC is not for sale. … But we are working on a deal. There are confidentiality deals involved.”
Dana to @dpshow: "The UFC is not for sale. … But we are working on a deal. There are confidentiality deals involved."
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) May 11, 2016
If the UFC does end up selling, White is in line for a major windfall—he reportedly owns “around 9 percent” of the company. White and brothers Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta are co-owners of the UFC after purchasing the company back in 2001 for just $2 million after the organization faced potential bankruptcy.
Dana White tells @dpshow that Fertitta brothers bought UFC for $2M in 2001, but spent $44M before generating positive cash flow.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) May 11, 2016
White has helped build the company into a behemoth in the mixed martial arts world—putting fighters like Conor McGregor, Jon Jones, and Ronda Rousey into the mainstream spotlight.
The company has made some major strides in recent years, including getting legal status in New York, which became official in April. Lorenzo Fertitta spoke about the healthy finances of the UFC, saying to CNN that the company made “about $600 million in revenue” in 2015.
If reports on the sale end up being true, the UFC is about to get even bigger.