clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Dana White denies report: 'The UFC is not for sale'

New, 100 comments
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The plot thickens.

Hours after ESPN.com published a report from business inside Darren Rovell citing sources saying the UFC's owners were in "advanced talks" to sell the promotion, UFC president Dana White denied it.

White told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the ESPN piece was "overblown."

"The UFC is not for sale," White said. "The ESPN story is overblown. Darren Rovell is not a fan of facts. His facts could not be further off."

ESPN reported Tuesday that the Fertitta brothers were selling the UFC and that four bidders had emerged. The expected winning bid would be somewhere between $3.5 billion and $4 billion, Rovell wrote.

The four bidders, per the report, are WME/IMG, China Media Capital, The Blackstone Group and Dalian Wanda Group. MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani reported that the Wanda Group is the front-runner and an announcement regarding a sale could happen as early as July. But nothing is finalized and the situation is fluid.

Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta bought the UFC in 2001 for $2 million and, along with White, a minority owner, built up the brand -- and the sport of mixed martial arts -- over the last 15 years. Zuffa LLC selling the UFC would be the biggest story in the history of MMA.

Lorenzo Fertitta, the UFC's CEO, said recently that the promotion made $600 million in revenue last year, a record. The UFC seems to be as healthy as it has ever been with Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor emerging as mainstream superstars.

On Tuesday, the Fertittas also made news in Las Vegas. Their company Red Rock Resorts Inc. announced the purchase of the Palms Casino Resort for $312.5 million.