Entertainment and sports specialist WME IMG has acquired the professional mixed martial arts organisation, UFC.
Under the new deal, WME IMG will serve as UFC’s operating partner, adding the MMA brand to its portfolio of more than 800 sports and entertainment events.
The firm will focus on accelerating the sport’s popularity and presence around the world with the aid of Silver Lake Partners and KKR who join WME IMG as new strategic investors.
“We have been fortunate over the years to represent UFC and a number of its remarkable athletes,” said WME IMG Co-CEOs Ariel Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell.
“It’s been exciting to watch the organisation’s incredible growth over the last decade under the leadership of the Fertitta brothers, Dan White and their dedicated team.
“We are now committed to pursuing new opportunities for UFC and its talented athletes to ensure the sport’s continued growth and success on a global scale.”
Founded in 1993, UFC is championed as one of the fastest growing sports brands in the world, producing more than 40 live events annually.
“No other sport compares to UFC,” added Dana White, UFC’s president who will continue in the role.
“Our goal has always been to put on the biggest and the best fights for our fans and to make this the biggest sport in the world. I am looking forward to working with WME IMG to continue to take this sport to the next level.”
Lorenzo J Fertitta, chairman and CEO, UFC, concluded: “We’re confident that the new ownership team of WME IMG, with whom we’ve built a strong relationship over the last several years, is committed to accelerating UFC’s global growth.
“Most importantly, our new owners share the same vision and passion for this organisation and its athletes.”
Upon closing the deal, Lorenzo Fertitta will step down from day-to-day operations, while Frank Fertitta III and Lorenzo Fertitta will both retain a passive minority interest in the organisation.