Cory Brady of FiveOuncesofPain.com is reporting the UFC has sold a minority percentage of the company to Sheik Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, son of the former United Arab Emirates president Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Although Brady was unable to confirm the sale with the world’s biggest MMA promotion directly, multiple sources “extremely close to the situation” varied the transaction had already been completed, however no word on what Tahnoon’s role will be, or more importantly, how much he was able to gobble-up.
UFC owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, along with president Dana White have long professed their interest in bringing-on additional investors, however White made it perfectly clear the trio would still be calling the shots no matter what.
In short, they’re in the market for SILENT partners willing to fork over their cheddar and bankroll the UFC in their pursuit of world dominance.
If that’s the case, Tahnoon fits the bill perfectly as Abu Dhabi was tagged as the single richest city in the world by Fortune Magazine back in 2007. The second largest city of the United Arab Emirates accounts for roughly 9% of the world’s proven oil reserves and almost 5% of the world’s natural gas.
For those that don’t know, Tahnoon is the founder of the no-gi submission Olympics, the Abu Dhabi Combat Club, however his clout in the grappling community extends beyond the boardroom as he earned his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt from the legendary Renzo Gracie.
UFC brass started hinting at the potential of a blockbuster deal back in August when White Tweeted about an extended business flight to the middle of BFE.
“Been on a plane for 20 hours. Just landed in abu dhabi!!!,” White wrote.
In November, Lorenzo Tweeted that he was in the Middle East trying to recruit the legendary instructor to perform inside his Octagon.
“Here in abu dhabi with renzo gracie. Do you want him to fight in the ufc?”
According to the report, Gracie played a key role in brokering the deal between the two parties, and for his troubles received the opportunity to fight former welterweight champ Matt Hughes at UFC 112 on April 10th, the promotion’s debut in Abu Dhabi.
Still no word from the UFC regarding the sale.