Last year, the UFC sold for a staggering $4.2 billion, despite president Dana White denying any such talks were going on.
Ultimately, WME-IMG became the owners, with co-CEOs Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell becoming the new bosses.
While $4.2 billion is nothing to scoff at, according to White, the UFC left a lot more money on the table… because they turned down another offer for $5 billion.
“I was never in this for the money ever,” White said during a recent interview on UFC Fight Pass. “Let me be honest with you, when we were doing this deal there were two groups that came in for more money than Ari [Emanual]. There was one [offer] for $5 billion.”
According to Dana, the previous owners (Fertitta brothers) believed Emanuel and Whitesell were the better fit for the UFC moving forward, because their entertainment contacts would really take UFC to the next level.
“If you look at what Lorenzo [and] Frank [Fertitta] and I accomplished when we had no production experience, no connections to Hollywood, L.A., television isn’t what we did, we’ve never been in the pay-per-view business before. You look at what we did,” White said. “Now we’re with a guy who is the king of Hollywood. Doing deals like this is what he does. It’s just going to be so much bigger for the sport, obviously for the brand and for the fighters.”
He goes on to say that he doesn’t plan on leaving the UFC, even after his contract runs out.
“Me and Ari could not be in a better place. I could not be a bigger believer in what we’re going to do over the next five years and what these guys bring to the table” he said. “I’m in. I love this. I’m not going anywhere.”