The UFC has officially stated that the company, which was originally purchased by the Fertitta brothers in 1993 for $2 million, sold for a staggering price tag of $4 billion. The new owners, WME-IMG, are the ones who purchased the largest MMA company in the world. However, it was stated it may take six weeks to two months for all signatures to be signed and the transaction to be official. Dana White, the current UFC president, will stay on board as the face of the company, with the potential to earn much more than he did during his time with the Fertitta brothers. Lorenzo Fertitta, will still have a minor role, but is stepping down as CEO and is virtually walking away with his brother, Frank. Here are three changes that may happen with the new owners of the company.
- Reebok Deal:
The Reebok deal is one of the most controversial topics revolving around the company, and may soon cease to exist. With the Reebok deal, the fighters are required to wear Reebok-only equipment during competition,weigh-ins, and more. This cut off sponsors and banners heavily affecting the pay scale for the average fighter. The only real sponsor allowed on Reebok gear is Monster Energy, who also has a deal with the UFC. The Reebok deal set up a pay scale depending on how many fights you had in the UFC and if you were a champion. This had newcomers to the company making very little in the way of sponsorships. With WME-IMG acquiring the UFC, they may get rid of this deal and the pre-made pay scale, helping the fighters earn more.
The UFC has iconic figures such as Dana White and Bruce Buffer. Another one of those figures is color commentator, Joe Rogan. Rogan’s contract with the UFC is up in August, and has flirted with the idea of leaving before. He made a comment in one of his recent podcasts, that if the UFC sold, he would for sure, “100%” leave the company. There are other commentators, such as Jon Anik, Brian Stann, Kenny Florian, etc… But no one matches the popularity and fan love that is attached with Rogan.
The UFC has a great relationship with Fox Sports since transitioning from Spike TV, where Bellator MMA now resides. This is also highly unlikely, but if the new owners don’t like Fox, we may see a change of networks. ESPN perhaps?
There isn’t much known about the desire the new UFC owners have for the company, but I’m sure we will find out in the coming months. What do you think will change, if anything?