After weeks of speculation and unrest, it appears the UFC Sale will soon go through and the promotion will be under new management. MMA website FloCombat is reporting that sources close to Zuffa and the UFC have said that a group of investors, consisting of WME-IMG, the Dalian Wanda Group, The Kraft Group and Tencent Holdings, have made a $4.2 Billion bid for 100% of the company. Zuffa accepted the bid.
Report: UFC Sale Tops Out at $4.2 Billion
Most of the money in this deal will be coming from the Dalian Wanda Group and Tencent Holdings. However, WME-IMG and The Kraft Group will the face and voice of the new owner in North America. If that name sounds familiar, its because the CEO of the Company, Robert Kraft, owns the New England Patriots.
Along with this plethora of investors, there was competition from China Media Capital. FloCombat reports that their bid fell well short of the price the sale topped out at.
The Fertitta Brothers entertained offers for the UFC before. In 2014, The Blackstone Group approached them about a selling the company; however that fell through. Then in 2015, FOX made an offer to take the company off the hands of the Fertitta Brothers but the offer was not even half of what Zuffa was looking for at the time.
What does it mean for Dana White, Joe Silva and Sean Shelby?
Many fans have been asking, “If the UFC gets sold, what happens to the big names?”
According to reports, despite the fact White sold his shares as part of the deal, he will be staying on in his role within the UFC. He will also receive a stake in the new company. It is uncertain how many shares he will get under the new management. However, he will continue to serve as the main face from the promotional standpoint. The new CEO will determine this at a later time. According to FloCombat, the name that man is Garry Cook. He is the former head of Manchester City FC of the English Premier League.
As far as matchmakers Sean Shelby and Joe Silva go, it has been suggested that both of them will stay on board in their current roles.
However there is growing concern amongst the MMA community about what will happen to analyst Joe Rogan. His contract with the company is up in August. About a month ago, he stated that he was “100%” certain he would leave his commentary position if the UFC was sold.
There are lots of moving pieces to this story and a lot of things to take into consideration. However, it looks very real that Zuffa will soon no longer be running the UFC.
Main Photo: NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 02: (l-r) Chris Weidman, Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta attends Reebok and UFC Long-Term Partnership Announcement at Industria Studios on December 2, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Chance Yeh/WireImage)