Though the Fertitta Family, in sporting circles, is known primarily for brothers Frank and Lorenzo purchasing, building, and eventually selling the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the brothers have another dream, owning a National Football League team.
The Fertitta brothers purchased the UFC in 2001 for $2 million. A decade-and-a-half later, they sold the mixed martial arts juggernaut for a reported $4.2 billion. Add that to the Fertitta’s already lofty position in the Nevada casino industry, and you’ve got two rather wealthy individuals with money to burn.
And there’s nothing more the Fertitta brothers would like to burn that money on than an NFL team.
When the Oakland Raiders were pursuing a move to Las Vegas, Lorenzo Fertitta was often mentioned as a potential partner. Fertitta’s inclusion never came to fruition with the Raiders, who are scheduled to begin play as the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020, but that hasn’t doused his or his brother’s dreams of someday owning an NFL franchise.
A recent report shifts speculation to Frank Fertitta.
According to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, Frank is heading a group pursuing a purchase of the Carolina Panthers, whose owner, Jerry Richardson, put his franchise up for sale late last year.
“Former UFC magnate Frank Fertitta heads one of the groups pushing to purchase the Panthers,” La Canfora wrote. “Would have to divest casino holdings.”
Former UFC magnate Frank Fertitta heads one of the groups pushing to purchase the Panthers. Would have to divest casino holdings
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) February 14, 2018
Though MMAWeekly.com was unable to get independent confirmation of Fertitta’s interest in purchasing the Panthers, it would make sense, even having to divest his casino holdings because of the gambling connection, as both brothers have long been pursuing NFL ownership.
It’s not something entirely new for the family though. The Fertitta brothers’ cousin, Tilman Fertitta, who owns the gigantic Landry’s Inc. restaurant corporation, purchased the NBA’s Houston Rockets last year for $2.2 billion.
Forbes.com put the Carolina Panthers 2017 valuation at $2.3 billion.