The talk about Zuffa LLC selling the UFC has been brewing in the MMA community for quite awhile now, and it’s also taken a step up in recent weeks.
Now, however, reports have surfaced from MMA Fighting’s Dave Meltzer that the UFC may be sold as soon as today (June 16, 2016), with the price reportedly targeted at or around $4 billion for complete ownership of the company:
“The bidding period is expected to end this week, on or around 6/16, regarding a sale that is expected to be in the $4 billion price range for 100 percent ownership of the UFC.”
Three potential buyers are in the running for the MMA frontrunner, with William Morris Endeavor/IMG, China Media Capital, and the Dalian Wanda Group being named the candidates. White has vehemently denied that the UFC is for sale in the media as always, but did note that they were “fielding offers.”
White owns 9% of the company himself, the Fertittas own 81%, and the remaining 10% is owned by a third party investor. If and when the UFC is sold, it’s hard to imagine the company being run without White as the public face, but there is a distinct possibility that both White and the Fertittas would relinquish their heavily involved roles with the company if it were sold.
Meltzer did reveal that the bidders may want White to stay on as head man, possibly even while keeping some of his ownership stake.
The UFC recently enlisted financial giant Goldman Sachs to assist with a potential sale, signifying that they were serious about unloading the world’s name brand for MMA. Nothing is official as of now, but the company’s recent signing of former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar to compete at UFC 200 could certainly be a play to bolster numbers, which have been soaring since a down 2014, up for the potential sale.
The UFC could also reject any or all bids and retain ownership, so it appears today and the next few days could be a critical negotiating period for the future direction of the company.
Either way, the UFC and obviously MMA as a whole is going to change in a big way if the UFC does accept one of the supposedly forthcoming bids and decide to sell. We’ll keep you updated on any developments as they arise.