The Ultimate Fighting Championship has been sold to a group led by talent and sports agency WME-IMG for a reported 4 billion US dollars (just over £3bn).
he UFC will reportedly announce the sale of the organisation on Monday to a consortium which also includes private equity firms Silver Lake, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Michael S Dell.
The current owners of the UFC - casino entrepreneurs Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta - will still hold a minority interest in the company while the majority of the shares will go to WME-IMG, headed by co-chief executives Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell.
UFC president Dana White is expected to keep his role whilst overseeing the day-to-day running of the company while Lorenzo Fertitta is set to step down as CEO.
The Fertitta brothers, along with White, bought the mixed martial arts organisation for 2 million US dollars in 2001 before going on to help the UFC grow into one of the biggest draws in combat sports.
Ireland's Conor McGregor praised the Fertitta regime.
"I am honoured to have fought under the Fertitta regime! To have been mentored by these great people on this great business is a true honour!," said McGregor on Twitter.
WME co-CEO Ari Emanuel confirmed the news today.
“We’ve been honoured to have UFC and a number of its athletes as clients and couldn’t be happier to take our relationship to this next level as the organization’s owner and operating partner,” Emanuel said.
“UFC has experienced tremendous growth over the last decade and we are looking forward to helping the organization and its athletes identify new opportunities to develop and further establish their global footprint."
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