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UFC sold to WME-IMG for $4 billion

The UFC has been sold for $4 billion.

WME-IMG announced the purchase of the mixed martial arts organization Monday. WWE-IMG will serve as the organization's operating partner and will be joined by Silver Lake Partners and KKR as strategic investors. MSD Capital, L.P. and MSD Partners, L.P. will provide preferred equity financing.

The $4 billion price tag is the amount that has been reported by various outlets, including The New York TImes and ESPN.

"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 in a statement. "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."

Dana White will remain as UFC president after the acquisition. After the deal is closed, Lorenzo Fertitta will step down from day-to-day operations. Lorenzo Fertitta and Frank Fertitta will keep a "passive minority interest" with the UFC, according to the statement.

Lorenzo J. Fertitta, Chairman and CEO, UFC, said in the statement: "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."

White told the Los Angeles Times his new role will be as "president, owner and day-to-day [promoter]."

The Ferttita brothers purchased the UFC for $2 million in 2001. The announcement comes just hours after UFC 200 this past weekend.

"No other sport compares to UFC," said White in the statement. "Our goal has always been to put on the biggest and the best fights for our fans, and to make this the biggest sport in the world. I’m looking forward to working with WME | IMG to continue to take this sport to the next level."

ESPN reports that Flash Entertainment will keep its 10 percent ownership.

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