The UFC has been sold for $4 billion, and Rorion Gracie, the man that created the organization in 1993, is happy for Dana White and the Fertitta brothers.
"I don’t know the exact details of the sale." Gracie reacted when asked by MMA Fighting on Monday. "I heard it was going to be sold and Dana will continue as president."
WME-IMG announced the purchase of the company on Monday, and White will continue as UFC president. Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta will also continue with "passive minority interest," the company announced.
"They did the right thing. They sold it and will continue making money," Gracie said. "Their intention was to make money, and they did it. They enjoyed the ride for a long time, and made the decision to sell it. We have to respect their decision. If I were them, I may have done same thing.
"They took my revolutionary concept for the UFC from a relatively small company, invested a lot of money, created this huge marketing wave around it, and are now collecting the benefits of a $4 billion sale."
Rorion Gracie created the UFC in 1993 to introduce jiu-jitsu to the world, and Royce Gracie’s wins over bigger opponents in the first editions quickly turned it as a sensation. Lack of rules and time limit became an issue, and Gracie decided to sell his share of the company to his partner Bob Meyrowitz after UFC 4, when Royce Gracie vs. Dan Severn went too long and fans couldn’t watch the end of the fight live, causing one of the biggest mishapd in pay-per-view history.
"When I came to the U.S. in 1978, my dream was to share the incredible benefits of our jiu-jitsu," he said. "I spent 10 years teaching out of my garage and, faced hundreds of challenges by representatives of other martial arts, never losing a match. One day I realized that it would never be over if I stayed inside of my garage. That’s when I decided to go big time, to television.
"When I created the UFC, my intention was develop a venue to compare the different styles of martial arts, so that a larger audience could see which was the most effective form of combat," he added. "Jiu-jitsu proved, beyond any doubt, to be the best. Today, every major law enforcement agency had adopted our program, as well as every professional fighter and everyone looking for true effectiveness. My dream had become reality.
"After the issues with UFC 4, my associates decided to implement time limit, rules, and weight classes, to plan the event for the TV. I understood that. Yet, I always saw the UFC as a real fight being televised, and they saw it as a TV show about fighting. I wasn’t interested in being part of the show if they modified the original concept of comparing styles, it became a comparison of athletes. The winner was no longer necessarily the better style, but often by judges outside. It was no longer the vision I had, so I do not regret walking way."
Rorion Gracie, who now dedicates his efforts in promoting benefits of the Gracie Diet, saw Dana White and the Fertitta brothers purchase the UFC for a few millions in 2001, and then invest a lot of money and time to turn it into one of the biggest sports company in the world.
"The feeling I have is that I had a son, and they adopted it, sent him to study at Harvard, and now my son controls Wall Street," Gracie said. "It's great to have an idea, and see it come to fruition."