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PostSubject: UFC reportedly sold to consortium for $4bn   Mon Jul 11, 2016 9:16 am

The Ultimate Fighting Championship has been sold to a group led by talent and sports agency WME-IMG for a reported $4 billion according to several news reports.

The UFC will reportedly announce the sale of the organisation today to a consortium which also includes private equity firms Silver Lake, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Michael S Dell.

According to Fox Sports, the current owners of the UFC - casino entrepreneurs Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta - will still hold a minority interest in the company while the majority of the shares will go to WME-IMG, headed by co-chief executives Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell.

UFC president Dana White is expected to keep his role whilst overseeing the day-to-day running of the company while Lorenzo Fertitta is set to step down as CEO.

The Fertitta brothers, along with White, bought the mixed martial arts organisation for €2m in 2001 before going on to help the UFC grow into one of the biggest draws in combat sports.

Emanuel is known to be a business partner of the UFC, having played a prominent role in their seven-year television deal with Fox in 2011.

The reported sale outlines how far mixed martial arts and the UFC has come after having difficulties in gaining approval from state athletic commissions across the United States due to its lack of popularity prior to the Fertitta brothers' investment 15 years ago.

When American sports promotion company Zuffa, founded by the Fertitta brothers, held its first UFC event in 2001 the company was on the verge of bankruptcy.

Now, UFC events are seen in more than 150 countries, reaching 1.1 billion television households worldwide.

The global acclaim of the organisation has seen the mainstream emergence of fighters such as Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey, who is also represented by WME-IMG.

Meanwhile, last weekend gave another indicator of how successful the Las Vegas-based promotion has become with their landmark UFC 200 show at the T-Mobile Arena attracting more than 18,000 fans.

Conor McGregor, Ireland's leading UFC fighter, tweeted earlier this morning that he was honoured to have been part of the "Fertitta regime"

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