Just two days after the biggest night in its 23-year existence, the UFC has announced its sale for $4 billion to a group of investors that include the talent agency WME-IMG.
It’s an astonishing sum for the MMA promotion, which Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta bought for $2 million in 2000. It’s also the most expensive transaction ever for a sports organization. As part of the transaction, Lorenzo Fertitta, the UFC’s CEO, will step down from that role. UFC president Dana White, who described the sale as “very” bittersweet, will remain in his position.
Fans have little to fear about the sale, he told ESPN. The “sport is going to the next level,” White said.
The sale was finalized this weekend as UFC 200 was taking over Las Vegas. The promotion touted the event as the most important fight night in its history and even though the card was in upheaval over the past week, it delivered plenty of excitement.
Forty-one-year-old MMA legend Anderson Silva, a last minute sub for Jon Jones, who was pulled from the main event after a positive PED test was revealed, was dominated by Daniel Cormier. The light heavyweight champ beat Silva by unanimous decision in a fight that saw the crowd turn on Cormier because of he kept taking the fight to the mat.
The most anticipated fight of the night saw the return of former UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar. Despite many predictions that hard hitting Mark Hunt would lay out the former WWE superstar, Lesnar won impressively via unanimous decision. The 38-year-old’s superior ground game rendered Hunt’s knockout power useless in the three round bout.
The night’s main event saw Miesha Tate defend her bantamweight belt against Amanda Nunes, who bloodied Tate’s face, breaking her nose, and then shocked the world with a first round submission. Nunes is now the UFC’s first Brazilian female champ.