The mixed martial arts world was jolted on Tuesday when an ESPN report indicated that the UFC was for sale.
The report, by sports business reporter Darren Rovell, went into detail, declaring several suitors for the UFC, and pegging the company’s valuation in the $3.5 to $4 billion range.
Following the report, UFC Vice President of Public Relations Dave Sholler told MMAWeekly.com, “As a private company, we don’t discuss speculation or rumors related to our business.”
Tuesday evening, however, UFC president Dana White shot down the report, telling the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “The UFC is not for sale. The ESPN story is overblown. Darren Rovell is not a fan of facts. His facts could not be further off.”
Speculation that the UFC has been shopped around have been floating around for years, and the time would seem ripe for a sale.
Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta purchased the UFC in 2001 for $2 million. They dumped upwards of $40 million into the company before it turned the corner with the success of the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter reality series, and they’ve never looked back.
Lorenzo Fertitta told CNN in December that the UFC grossed roughly $600 million last year.
But for now, despite the rumored $3.5 to $4 billion valuation, White declared that the rumors of the UFC’s sale are greatly exaggerated.