Fan of Ronda Rousey? Conor McGregor? Brock Lesnar? Whether you’re a big fan or a casual fan, the UFC has made an undeniable impact on sports in the US in a very short period of time. The Fertitta brothers, who have made their money by owning the Station Casinos line in Las Vegas, took a gamble back in 2001 and bought the UFC for $2 million. Flash forward 15 years, and they have just sold it for $4 BILLION. Making it the biggest sale in the history of sports.
The buyers are WME / IMG, which is arguably the biggest entertainment conglomerate in the country. The story was first accurately reported by Jeremy Botter of FloSports in Austin on June 20th.
On the sale; Lorenzo J. Fertitta, Chairman and CEO, UFC, said: “We’re confident that the new ownership team of WME | IMG, with whom we’ve built a strong relationship over the last several years, is committed to accelerating UFC’s global growth. Most importantly, our new owners share the same vision and passion for this organization and its athletes.”
WME / IMG echoed the excitement of the transaction:
“We’ve been fortunate over the years to represent UFC and a number of its remarkable athletes,” said WME | IMG Co-CEOs Ariel Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell. “It’s been exciting to watch the organization’s incredible growth over the last decade under the leadership of the Fertitta brothers, Dana White and their dedicated team. We’re now committed to pursuing new opportunities for UFC and its talented athletes to ensure the sport’s continued growth and success on a global scale.”
This makes the UFC the most valuable sports franchise in history. According to Forbes, through 2015, these are the most valuable sports franchises.
- Real Madrid ($3.26 Billion)
- Dallas Cowboys ($3.2 Billion)
- New York Yankees (3.2 Billion)
Where does the UFC go from here? One thing we know for sure: Dana White will stay on board as the head of the organization, and according to them, it’s business as usual.