Last month, ESPN reported that the UFC was close to selling the promotion to a group of Chinese investors. It’s arguable whether this would be best for the sport of MMA. A more transparent sport of MMA with higher fighter pay would be a great thing, but Dana White (and fighters) denied any rumor of a sale, despite many insiders insisting it’s true. And so, we were left with the status quo with a lot of smoke.
Of course, there’s a bit of semantics that aren’t making their way to the news — is this a full-on sale of the UFC minus the 10 percent owned by Dubai-backed Flash Entertainment, or is it simply another sale of shares? Thinking about the UFC without the Fertittas or Dana White is definitely strange, and beyond just their ownership, the trio know how to run the biggest MMA promotion in the world. If they were to bounce, the UFC would suffer, so an outright sale doesn’t seem entirely likely. But then, who can turn down a few billion dollars?
Still — there’s smoke. A lot of smoke. Rumors of a UFC sale have persisted for years, especially with the Fertittas’ love of the NFL and their want of an NFL team in Vegas being a potential motivating factor in a sale. Everything adds up to a cash-out type situation.
It seems more and more likely that some facet of the UFC is going to get sold, and be sold soon.