LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) — Fight promoter Ultimate Fighting Championship has reportedly been sold to a group led by talent agency WME-IMG for about $4 billion, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.
According to the New York Times, investors in the deal include private equity heavyweights Silver Lake, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and the investment firm of the billionaire Michael S. Dell.
The 23-year-old league, which presents mixed martial arts fights in all 50 states, broadcasts its contests to more than 156 countries worldwide, via pay-per-view and increasingly through digital services such as its Fight Pass streaming service.
The deal presents a windfall for UFC's primary owners, casino entrepreneurs Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, who acquired the organization in 2000 for just $2 million.
Under the guidance of the Fertittas, the organization saw a period of expansion, as well as the adoption of new rules to curb some of the league's perceived excesses, paving the way for regulatory approval by state sports commissions across the U.S. New York, the final domino, approved leagues fights this year.
According to the Times, the Fertittas will stay on with the league in a minority ownership position. – Staff Writers