The sale of the UFC may be all but official, as Jeremy Botter at FloCombat.com reports that Zuffa has accepted a bid for the world’s largest MMA organization.
Per the report, a group consisting of WME-IMG, the Dalian Wanda Group, The Kraft Group, and Tencent Holdings submitted the top bid of $4.2 billion. Zuffa’s acceptance of the bid will move the sale process forward.
The multiple companies had been part of the sealed bidding process that concluded late last week, along with China Media Capital, and the winning bid came after the individual companies joined up to meet the desired valuation by Zuffa.
While the future layout of the organization will be very much in flux under new ownership, Dana White is expected to remain with the company with new shares after cashing out his current ownership (just shy of 9%) in this deal. A new CEO will be appointed with the likely exit of current owner Lorenzo Fertitta, and current executive Garry Cook has been named as a potential front-runner.
Penick’s Analysis: If the report comes to fruition, that’s a massive deal for the Fertittas, and means a new future for the UFC. It’s impossible to know what that’s going to mean for the fighters and the product on the whole, as Lorenzo Fertitta has been in many ways a leader in the direction things have gone to this point. Dana White staying on would keep some level of familiarity – and if matchmakers Joe Silva and Sean Shelby remain there will be some consistency in fight quality for sure – but with new corporate overseers (and a multitude of voices and opinions being brought into the fold on that end) things are sure to get interesting very quickly. Credit to Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta on such a hugely impressive deal. They bought the organization 15 years ago for $2 million, went tens of millions into debt over the next few years, and now get a somewhat unbelievable return on that investment. Expect a lot of resentment from fighters and those not getting a piece of that pie in the near future.
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