Ithas been an exciting week for the UFC.
OnJuly 9, Ultimate Fighting Championship held its milestone UFC 200 pay-per-viewevent. Then, on July 11 WME IMGHoldings LLC said it would acquire the mixed martial artsorganization.
As expected,the U.S.-based sports and entertainment conglomerate will assume operational controlof Zuffa LLC-owned UFC, which produces more than 40 live events annually andranks as the top PPV event provider. The company — which in 2011 signed a $700million deal with 21st CenturyFox Inc.'s FOX Sports — also offers , an over-the-top servicewith live events, on-demand bouts and original content.
WME-IMGowner Silver LakePartners and KKR& Co. LP will join the sports/representation company as newstrategic investors, along with MSD Capital LP and MSD Partners LP, which will provide preferred equityfinancing.
Dealterms were not disclosed, but the transaction is reportedlyvalued at around $4 billion.
Subjectto customary closing conditions, the deal will see UFC President Dana Whiteremain in that position, while majority owners Lorenzo Fertitta and FrankFertitta III will both retain a passive minority interest in the organization.
"We'vebeen fortunate over the years to represent UFC and a number of its remarkableathletes," said WME- IMG Co-CEOs Ariel Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell in astatement. "It's been exciting to watch the organization's incrediblegrowth over the last decade under the leadership of the Fertitta brothers, DanaWhite and their dedicated team. We're now committed to pursuing newopportunities for UFC and its talented athletes to ensure the sport's continuedgrowth and success on a global scale."
Theoutfit's UFC 200 event or card, slated to be headlined by a light heavyweighttitle battle between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier, had to be recently, when the former wasremoved from the lineup when the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the independentadministrator of UFC's anti-doping policy, found a potential violation in asample collected last month.
Nevertheless,executives at In Demand and Joe Hand Promotions, which work with bars and othercommercial venues on PPV events, expected the event to perform well.
ConorMcGregor, arguably the sport's biggest star, is expected to headline UFC 202 ina rematch against Nate Diaz. WME-IMG represents the circuit's top femaleperformer, Ronda Rousey, who has yet to return to the octagon, following herloss to Holly Holm in November 2015.