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Dana White Denies ESPN Report, UFC Not For Sale

Written by Tom Ngo
May 11th, 2016
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UFC Dana White

UFC vice president of public relations Dave Sholler may have refused to “discuss speculation or rumors related to our business,” but UFC president Dana White (pictured) was more than happy to shoot down ESPN.com’s report that they are in advanced talks with four bidders to sell the world’s premiere mixed martial arts promotion.

“The UFC is not for sale,” White told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “The ESPN story is overblown. Darren Rovell is not a fan of facts. His facts could not be further off.”

Rovell quickly caught wind of White’s comments and offered up a big LOL. He then further backed up his report with additional facts to strengthen his case:

According to Rovell’s report, Dalian Wanda Group, WME/IMG, China Media Capital and The Blackstone Group are the four groups looking to acquire the UFC at a valuation between $3.5 to $4 billion.

Dalian Wanda Group, the rumored early front runners to win the bidding war, is a Chinese-based conglomerate whose chairman, Wang Jianlin, is the richest man in China with a reported worth of nearly $35 billion.

White has been known to stretch the truth in the past – alright, flat out lie – but in this case there are billions of dollars at stake so if there was a time to fib, now would be it. Let’s not forget in 2011 when White denied the UFC was going to purchase Strikeforce, only to announce the acquisition of the UFC’s then-biggest rival a week later.

Zuffa, LLC, the parent company of the UFC, is owned by Lorenzo (pictured) (40.5%) and Frank Fertitta (40.5%), Flash Entertainment (10%) and White (9%). The Fertitta brothers, who made their early money as owners of Las Vegas’ Stations Casino, purchased the UFC in 2001 for just $2 million. Lorenzo Fertitta recently told CNN that the company grossed about $600 million in revenue in 2015.

According to the trusty rumor mill, if not the entire company, at least a percentage of the UFC is definitely on the sale block. In addition, there’s rumblings that the new owners might not want to keep White on as the UFC’s frontman if a purchase is finalized.

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