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UFC sale reportedly imminent with two bids in $4.1 billion range (updated)

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The "C" in UFC must stand for "cash."

The UFC has received two bids in the range of $4.1 billion and a sale is close, according to an report Thursday. The two high bidders, per ESPN sports business inside Darren Rovell, are WME-IMG (in conjunction with Dalian Wanda Group) and China Media Capital.

The bids are somewhere between $3.9 and $4.2 billion, sources said.

The sale would be for the entire company. Currently, both groups are trying to completely finance the buyout, the report said. The results of that could determine which bidder ends up buying the UFC.

ESPN reported that one of the potential investors for WME-IMG is the Kraft Group, which owns the New England Patriots. A Kraft spokesman declined comment to ESPN. Robert Kraft is a friend of UFC president Dana White; White, a former Boston resident, has been spotted numerous times on the sidelines at Patriots games.

China Media Capital has a group of a number of investors from Shanghai and Hong Kong.

White declined comment to ESPN. He has previously denied past ESPN reports of a sale. Last month, White said on The Dan Patrick Show that the promotion was not up for sale. Instead, White said, the UFC was looking to expand.

"Obviously, if I'm in the middle of a deal right now, there's a lot of confidentiality involved in it," White said at the time. "We're working on expanding. We're working on growing the company and moving into other territories like China and Japan, Korea. So, yeah, we're always working on deals.

"As far as the UFC being for sale, I've said this a million times, we get offers on the UFC all the time. It started in 2010. We got our first offer for the company, which was over $1 billion and we turned it down."

ESPN reported May 10 that the UFC was in heavy discussions to sell and four bidders had emerged.

In 2015, UFC took in $608,629,000 in total revenue and had a profit of $157,806,000, sources said.

The UFC is owned primarily by casino billionaires Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta. White and Flash Entertainment, a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi government, also own a percentage.

Both bidders are interested in keeping White on board, sources said.

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