Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the league that promotes mixed martial arts, has been sold for $4 billion, the company’s president Dana White confirmed on Monday.
The fighting championship has been acquired by a consortium of investors, led by WME-IMG, the US-based talent agency that represents the UFC’s biggest star, Ronda Rousey, as well as talent across movies, television, and music. Last year, WME-IMG also acquired the Professional Bull Riders league.
Private equity firms Silver Lake, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and Michael Dell’s investment firm MSD Capital are also backing the UFC deal, according to The New York Times which first reported the sale.
UFC did not immediately respond to a request for comment when contacted by Business Insider.
The league is currently majority controlled by brothers Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta who bought the franchise for $2 million 16 years ago. Before the acquisition, they held an 80% stake in the company. White also had a 9% stake in the company.
White told ESPN that he will stay on in the role and that fans should not be concerned about the change in ownership.
“Exact opposite, sport is going to the next level,” he said.
Earlier this month, UFC’s brand chief Garry Cook told Business Insider the sport reaches 1.1 billion households worldwide. He added that UFC had ambitions to become an Olympic sport one day and explained how an International Mixed Martial Arts federation is being developed to hold discussions with governments around the world in a bid to make it happen.
UFC held the biggest events in its history — UFC 200 — on July 9, in front of more than 18,000 fans in Las Vegas and televised to audiences around the world on pay-per-view.
Lorenzo Fertitta, UFC’s CEO, told CNN last year that UFC was on track to generate $600 million in revenue for the 2015 financial year.
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