Is the UFC up for Sale? ESPN is saying that the Fertitta brothers are in advanced talks to sell the UFC. According to the report, at least four parties have put in bids: two Chinese groups – conglomerate Dalian Wanda and private equity and venture capital firm China Media Capital – private equity house The Blackstone Group and U.S. talent agency WME/IMG. The UFC, one of the world’s most popular mixed martial arts promotions, is owned by Zuffa, whose largest shareholders are brothers Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta. Dana White, the president of UFC, who’s well known as its public face, also owns a big stake in Zuffa. If a deal were to go through, the winning bid is likely to be for a valuation between $3.5 billion and $4 billion, people familiar with the negotiations told this to ESPN.
The UFC has stated that “As a private company, we don’t discuss speculation or rumors related to our business,” to NBC. However, UFC President Dana White has “vehemently denied” the organization is up for sale, while the Dalian Wanda, run by Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin, is the front-runner to win the auction that “isn’t happening”. Dalian Wanda already owns a 20 percent stake in Spanish football club Atletico Madrid as well as the Iron man triathlon franchise. The company also acquired movie studio Legendary Entertainment earlier this year. So they are obviously well-equipped to purchase the UFC as well as run it. Maybe they will take better care of the fighters monetarily. I wonder if the Reebok deal is still on if the company is sold. It makes you wonder why Dana White is in such denial despite the almost public knowledge that the UFC is going to sell.
The UFC changed the face of Martial Arts between what was fact and fiction. We grew up believing that Martial Arts Training was the best way to win a fight, if that was your goal, but which Martial Arts Style would be the best? The Gracie family already had a reputation for going around and winning fights against other styles but most of the world hadn’t even heard of them until the first UFC.
It became very apparent that old traditional styles were not complete in their application for true competition.
A lot of hearts were broken and a lot of egos were shattered, but Ultimately (no pun intended) it took a blending of several styles to create a complete fighter. This is a notion that Bruce Lee played with for a very long time and actually turned it into the sacred art of Jeet Kune Do.
With any major change comes turmoil. I think that they should elect a new president if the UFC sells. Dana White will be well taken care of into generations of his family and he won’t have any issues finding another capital machine. It does show, after all, that Martial Arts can be big business. It is always a big idea that spawns big business. In this case, a tradition that was started hundreds of years ago to simply learn how to defend one’s self, became a multi billion dollar corporation. That is amazing!