The UFC is reportedly on the brink of a multi-billion dollar sale, despite the promotion previously distancing themselves from claims of sizeable investment.
The Guardian reports that rival bids are expected by the end of this week from WME-IMG in conjunction with Dalian Wanda Group, and China Media Capital.
It is suggested the bids will be in the region of $4.1 billion – roughly £2.7 billion.
Regarding the latest development, UFC President Dana White reportedly told ESPN he had no comment to make.
Previously, White told MMA Fighting:
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.
White currently owns a nine per cent stake in the promotion, with Abu Dhabi-based Flash Entertainment owning ten per cent of the company, and the remaining 81 per cent owned by the Fertitta brothers, Lorenzo and Frank.
Sources have indicated interested investors are still trying to raise the necessary finances to wrestle the UFC away from parent company Zuffa LLC, with WME co-chair Ari Emanuel reported to be seeking investors to each provide between $25m and $50m to their bid.
If completed, the deal would demonstrate the overwhelming success Zuffa has enjoyed in taking professional mixed martial arts into the mainstream.
They bought the organisation for just $2 million in 2001 – roughly £1.4 million.
One downside to any sale, fan favourite Joe Rogan will likely call time on his career as a UFC pundit.
With his contract up in August, the comedian told MMA Fighting in May that there was a ‘100 per cent’ chance he’d leave if the Fertitta brothers sold.