When the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) was sold in 2016 for $4 billion to WME-IMG, it became the most lucrative sports franchise sale in history.
However, the amount of money that the UFC was sold for could’ve been even higher -- say $5 billion -- according to UFC President Dana White.
“I was never in this for the money ever,” White explained on The Exchange With Megan Olivi. “When we bought this thing, we bought it for $2 million and then we were upside down and everything else. For me it’s always taking it to the next level. Let me be honest with you, when we were doing this deal there were two groups that came in for more money than Ari [Emanual]. There was one [offer] for $5 billion.”
The UFC President never reveals what company could’ve bought the UFC instead of WME-IMG.
A huge factor that lead to the former owners the Fertitta Brothers (Lorenzo and Frank) selling the UFC to WME-IMG over the other unnamed company was the vision for the promotion's future that WME-IMG had for their newly owned product.
“There’s people who I believe add value. One of the million things I respect about the Fertitta’s, they weren’t just going to let this thing go for the money,” White said. “They were going to make sure it went to somebody who could actually take it and bring it to the next level.”
Huge sums of money were paid by WME-IMG for the UFC and many of the faithful employees of the company started falling by the wayside, but don;t expect the UFC President to go anywhere for at least the next few years.
“Me and Ari could not be in a better place. I could not be a bigger believer in what we’re going to do over the next five years and what these guys bring to the table,” White said. “I’m in. I love this. I’m not going anywhere.”
MMA fans next opportunity to catch some UFC action will be at UFC 211, which takes place on Saturday, May 13 from the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas with Stipe Miocic and Junior Dos Santos headlining.