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UFC sold to talent agency, investors for $4B; Dana White to remain

By The Sports Xchange
UFC sold to talent agency, investors for $4B; Dana White to remain
Swizz Beatz and UFC star Ronda Rousey take a selfie together in 2014. The UFC has been sold for $4 billion ahead of a broadcasting contract renewal in 2018. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

UFC has been sold for approximately $4 billion but the mixed martial arts company president, Dana White, will remain in charge of day-to-day operations.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship's sale, which had been rumored for months, was announced Monday morning.

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Hollywood talent agency WME-IMG revealed that it is partnering with its owner Silver Lake Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and MSD Capital, the investment firm of billionaire Michael Dell, founder of Dell Computers, to take over the company.

"We've been fortunate over the years to represent UFC and a number of its remarkable athletes," WME-IMG co-CEOs Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell said 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."

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UFC was founded in 1993 as the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Brothers Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, along with their high school friend, White, purchased the company for $2 million in 2001.

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White, who had denied the organization was for sale for the past two months, told ESPN on Sunday night that fans should not be concerned about the change in ownership.

"Exact opposite," White said. "Sport is going to the next level."

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Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta will step down as part of the deal, although the brothers will retain a minority interest. White, who owned 9 percent of UFC, will stay on and be given a stake of the new business, according to ESPN.

"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," Lorenzo Fertitta said in a statement. "Most importantly, our new owners share the same vision and passion for this organization and its athletes."

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