#UFC London #Fabricio Werdum #Alexander Volkov #Jan Blachowicz #Jimi Manuwa #Terrion Ware #Tom Duquesnoy #Leon Edwards #Peter Sobotta #Paul Craig #Magomed Ankalaev #John Phillips #Charles Byrd #Danny Henry #Hakeem Dawodu

Dana White Says Zuffa Turned Down $5 Billion for the UFC | FIGHTLAND

Photo by ?Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports?

Last year when Zuffa, LLC sold the UFC to Hollywood mega-talent agency WME|IMG for $4 billion—$3,998,000,000 more than Zuffa had paid for it just 15 years earlier—it was a ground-shaking event, the most money anyone had ever paid for any sports franchise and confirmation, as if any were needed, that MMA had at long last, and after many, many years of doldrums, shame, controversy, and insolvency, become legitimate. Suddenly the UFC was owned by a company run by a true Hollywood giant, Ari Emanuel—a man honored (and lightly mocked) on HBO comedies, a brother to the sitting governor of Chicago and a kingpin in the Democratic Party, a man who had represented Donald J. Trump. Suddenly Emanuel’s clients, Hollywood royalty every last one of them, were lining up to invest: Ben Affleck, the Williams sisters, Mark Wahlberg, LL Cool J, and on and on and on. But all that star power paled in comparison to that number: $4 billion! A number to light up the sky! And for a cage-fighting league! No one, not even UFC President Dana White—then, now, and forever the promotion’s biggest booster—would have believed back in 2001 that such a thing was possible. $4 billion was inconceivable, unimaginable, impossible, surreal.

Well, yesterday White revealed during an interview on UFC Fight Pass that WME|IMG’s number wasn’t even the biggest one offered. No, apparently, two other offers came in last year that were bigger than WME’s. The biggest, White said, topped out at $5 billion. Which means the UFC left $1 billion—a sum greater than the Gross Domestic Product of more than a dozen countries—on the table.

What a strange move for a roomful of businessmen to make.

But according to White, he and Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, the brothers who own Zuffa, never saw money as their primary motivator when it came to decision-making. For them the concern was always about making moves that would take the organization, and MMA in general, to what he calls the “next level.” Thus the decision to agree to the lower offer that came in from WME|IMG, a company White and the Fertittas believed had a plan for expanding the empire that the three of them had built from virtually nothing.

“There’s people who I believe add value,” White said. “One of the million things I respect about the Fertittas, they weren’t just going to let this thing go for the money. They were going to make sure it went to somebody who could actually take it and bring it to the next level.”

And apparently that somebody was Emanuel, a longtime talent agent who shook up Hollywood in 2009 when he merged his Endeavor agency with the legendary William Morris, “rewriting the Hollywood script,” as the Financial Times said, in the process, and earning himself a spot as one of the “biggest guns in the consolidating entertainment business,” according to Forbes. Since the merger WME|IMG has branched out into advertising, music publishing, e-commerce, branding, beauty pageants, eSports, and actual sports. In addition to owning the UFC, WME represents the NFL and the NHL. The Emanuel model is to create new worlds by bringing every world together: to blur all the lines.

Considering Emanuel’s success in expanding the concept of consolidated entertainment and creating and merging new markets, White said it was a no-brainer for Zuffa to take accept the smaller offer. “It’s just going to be so much bigger for the sport, obviously for the brand, and for the fighters,” White said.

“If you look at what Lorenzo, Frank, and I accomplished when we had no production experience, no connections to Hollywood, L.A., television isn’t what we did, we’ve never been in the pay-per-view business before. You look at what we did,” White went on. “Now we’re with a guy who is the king of Hollywood.”

And what’s a billion dollars when you have a chance to roll with a king?

Check out this related story:

Does the UFC's Sale Have a Sports Business Parallel?

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.


Show Comments

Related News

Brian Ortega: A Bad Match-up for the UFC Featherweight Division | MMAWeekly.com

  • 26 days ago

After watching Royce Gracie in the early days of the UFC, a young Brian Ortega tried out jiu-jitsu -- and turned out to be a prodigy. read news >>

Dana White and Brock Lesnar are hanging out together – so he's totally fighting in the UFC again, right?

  • 21 days ago

They say a picture is worth 1,000 words. This one probably tops that count. read news >>

Dana White Would 'Like to See' WWE's Brock Lesnar Fight Again in UFC

  • 20 days ago

Dana White is once again opening the door for a Brock Lesnar return. In an interview with TMZ Sports, the UFC president said he would "like to see" the promotion's former heavyweight champion make a read news >>

Dana White Tease Chances Are 'Very Good' Brock Lesnar Returns to the UFC | MMAWeekly.com

  • 18 days ago

UFC president Dana White says chances are 'very good' that former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar returns to compete inside the Octagon read news >>

Dana White on odds Brock Lesnar returns to UFC: 'Very, very, very good'

  • 19 days ago

Are you ready to see Brock Lesnar back in the UFC? Because President Dana White says the chances are “very, very, very good.” read news >>

UFC 222 staff picks: Does anyone dare pick against massive favorite Cris Cyborg?

  • 16 days ago

Check out our picks for the UFC 222 main card, which features a women’s featherweight title fight between Cris Cyborg and Yana Kunitskaya. read news >>

Video replay: UFC 222 weigh-ins in Las Vegas

  • 16 days ago

Check out a replay of the UFC 222 ceremonial weigh-ins, which took place today in Las Vegas. read news >>

Dana White Says UFC 223 Winner Will Get Conor McGregor's Title Belt

  • 16 days ago

UFC president Dana White confirmed on Friday that the winner of the UFC 223 fight between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov will become the new lightweight champion. White told Lance Pugmire of t read news >>

Did Conor McGregor Try to Save UFC 222? Dana White Says 'Nothing About it Made Sense' | MMAWeekly.com

  • 13 days ago

At the UFC 222 Post-Fight Press Conference, White confirmed that McGregor had indeed offered to step in and fight Edgar. But was it a serious offer? read news >>

Get cageside for Kevin Lee vs. Edson Barboza at UFC-Atlantic City for $150

  • 11 days ago

Tickets for the UFC’s return to Atlantic City go on sale this week, and you can get yourself cageside for just $150. read news >>

Daily Debate: Who's next for UFC champ Cris Cyborg – Megan Anderson or Amanda Nunes?

  • 12 days ago

As the Cris Cyborg Tour of Destruction shows no signs of slowing down, who’s next for the UFC women’s featherweight champion – Megan Anderson or Amanda Nunes? read news >>

Video replay: UFC Fight Night 127 weigh-ins in London

  • 2 days ago

Check out a replay of the UFC Fight Night 127 ceremonial weigh-ins, which took place today in London. read news >>

UFC Fight Night 127 staff picks: One unanimous nod and three blowouts in London

  • 2 days ago

Check out our picks for the UFC Fight Night 127 main card in London, which features heavyweights Fabricio Werdum and Alexander Volkov. read news >>

Dana White Still Targeting Late Summer Return for Conor McGregor | MMAWeekly.com

  • 2 days ago

Conor McGregor still hasn't said when exactly he plans to return to the UFC but Dana White seems to believe he will be back before the year is over. The UFC president recently spoke to the BBC where read news >>

How to watch UFC Fight Night 127 today: Fight card, start time, online results and where to stream

  • 2 days ago

The UFC is back in England today with UFC Fight Night 127. Here’s how to watch. read news >>

Fabian Edwards says BAMMA fighters 'running scared,' plans to join brother Leon in UFC

  • 2 days ago

Fabian Edwards has aspirations of joining his brother, Leon Edwards, in the UFC. If things go accordingly, it could happen within 12 months. read news >>

Search for:

Related Videos

Trending News

Top News