In 2016, the Fertitta brothers and Dana White stunned the business world after selling the UFC to (then) WME-IMG for a sporting transaction record of $4.2 billion. Considering the trio had purchased the flagging mixed martial arts promotion for $2 million for 2001, it’s rightfully considered one of the best deals not just in sports, but in business history.
As a part of their 25 years of UFC documentary series, the UFC have revisited the deal, calling on those involved to share their thoughts on the drama. For the first time, viewers are able to hear from figures such Lorenzo Fertitta, Ari Emanuael and of course White himself — who infamously isolated himself in a hotel room to cope with the emotional scale of the agreement.
Considering mixed martial arts perennial status as a fringe sport, the sale did more than just make those involved richer. It forced the UFC, which was already breaking boundaries, to be considered no longer as an outsider to be viewed as ‘extreme’. Instead, the valuation (which exceeded that of Soccer, NFL or NBA teams) forced mainstream media to truly acknowledge MMA as a sport to be reckoned with.
Check out the fascinating story in the video above.