News broke overnight Sunday into Monday that the Ultimate Fighting Championship Promotion had been sold by Zuffa Enterprises to WME-IMG.
Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta were already making big money as the owners of Station Casinos in Las Vegas. They were convinced by their childhood friend Dana White to purchase the UFC in 2001 for a reported two million dollars. On Sunday night, the same promotion sold for a reported four billion dollars, the largest return on investment in American sports history.
White, a cult figure across UFC circles, is expected to remain as President and day-to-day manager of the Las Vegas based company.
— danawhite (@danawhite) July 11, 2016
Dana White (@danawhite) on future involvement: Same. President, owner, working my ass off. Just doing it without my best friend and partner.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) July 11, 2016
WME-IMG is best known as a talent and sports agency headed up by Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell. They have previously been in business with the UFC and were reported as being crucial negotiators in the deal Zuffa/UFC signed with Fox Sports for the current seven-year broadcast deal. They also represent Ronda Rousey in her career outside the cage, though whether that will create a conflict of interest in the future remains to be seen.
Conor McGregor was quick to post his reaction and response. Twitter also has had its say.
The UFC just sold for the same price as Star Wars. Think about that.
— Shaheen Al-Shatti (@shaunalshatti) July 11, 2016
Biggest takeaway at the moment on this historic day for MMA: UFC fighters are worth more than we all thought. Hope they realize that, too.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 11, 2016
4 bil… I was probably worth more and so was everyone else right?
— Al Iaquinta🗽 (@ALIAQUINTA) July 11, 2016
— Joe Ellenberger (@JoeEllenberger) July 11, 2016
I wonder what comes next…
— Dan Hardy (@danhardymma) July 11, 2016
Deadly can't wait to see what % I'll get out of that 4 billion no more work for me going in to tell the boss to fuck himself
— Neil 2 Tap Seery (@NeilSeeryMMA) July 11, 2016
Joe Louzon, after winning a performance of the night bonus at UFC 200, shared the memo sent to all UFC fighters following the announcement of the sale.
— Joe Lauzon (@JoeLauzon) July 11, 2016
However, the sale may come at a huge cost for UFC fans. Regardless of the quality of fights, Joe Rogan has adorned UFC broadcasts. However, that run may be coming to an end.
His deal ends shortly after UFC 201. In May, Rogan spoke to Ariel Helwani on his MMAhour show and admitted that there was a “100 percent chance” he will leave the UFC in August should Zuffa sell the promotion.
With that day now upon us, almost equal Twitter attention has focused on the probable loss of Rogan as the news of the sale filtered through.
— SouvenirPatch (@SouvenirPatch) July 11, 2016
Garbh Madigan, Pundit Arena