The UFC has denied reports that the promotion is in ‘advanced talks’ to sell the promotion to investors from China.
According to ESPN, there are at least four investment bids on the table to take control of the organisation, including WME/IMG, China Media Capital, The Blackstone Group and Dalian Wanda Group.
Sources told the sports broadcaster that a successful bid would need to match the valuation of the company, which is considered to be between $3.5 billion and $4 billion – roughly £2.7bn.
UFC courting multiple deals. New CFO and a few signs of a potential sale. I’d place even odds on a 2016 sale.
— Jonathan Snowden (@JESnowden) March 17, 2016
Dana White has fiercely denied the rumours are true, accusing ESPN of publishing an ‘overblown’ story.
As reported by MMA Fighting, White said:
The UFC is not for sale. The ESPN story is overblown. Darren Rovell is not a fan of facts. His facts could not be further off.
I was told last week that China’s Wanda Group was the current front-runner in these talks and the sale could be announced as soon as July.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) May 11, 2016
The UFC has been owned by Zuffa LLC since 2001 when the Fertitta brothers, Lorenzo and Frank, bought the fight promotion for just $2 million – roughly £1.3m.
It was announced in December that the business had grossed $600m in revenue for 2015, a company record.
Clearly the MMA promotion is not in a desperate position financially following 15 years of consistent growth, and such success is bound to attract investors.