The monumental $4 billion sale of the UFC to an investor group led by WME | IMG is a done deal. Some pundits fear that it won’t do any good for the fighters, but Dana White has now tried to dispel those doubts in a recent interview with TMZ.com.
The UFC president promised that under new ownership, fighters will earn more money and receive more opportunities outside of the cage.
“One of the things that we have always done since the day we have bought this company is we have taken this to the next level. I didn’t sleep too well last night. I was reading a lot of stuff and watching a lot of stuff, and obviously there was a lot of positive. But then there’s negative people out there, the naysayers, all this and that. Listen, this is gonna be massive,” White promised.
“Every year that we’ve owned this, fighter pay has gone up every year,” the UFC president continued. “I think that Ari (Emanuel), IMG, they’re gonna really bring in a lot more sponsors, there’s gonna be television and movie opportunities for these guys. Again, we’re just gonna continue to make this thing bigger globally and make this sport more popular. People can’t wrap their brains around the fact that we don’t even have scratched the surface of how big this sport’s gonna be. And Ari and his team get it, my team definitely gets it, and I’m ready.”
According to White, more talent on his roster will have the chance to walk down the Ronda Rousey route and pursue a career in Hollywood.
“Absolutely. Listen, I come up with lots of content,” White said. “The library that I have from the past, the live fights, the ability to do all the different television shows, the talent that I have, I have 500 men and women under contract, talented people. Ari’s gonna help take that to the next level. I’m telling you guys. Look at these things that I said 15 years ago and listen to what I’m telling you today: Watch what happens in the next five years.”
The aforementioned Ari Emanuel is the head of powerful talent agency WME | IMG, that represents numerous renowned artists and athletes, including former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey. Emanuel and WME, with their prime Hollywood contacts, are expected to “wield a lot of power over the organization”, according to another report from TMZ. They have purchased the UFC alongside other the investors Silver Lake, KKR and MSD capital.
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