Rumors have been swirling about a potential UFC sale for a while now. For at least as long as the UFC's partnership with Reebok has been in the works, there have been whispers that the UFC was looking to spruce up their presentation with an eye toward eventually selling it off. Back in March, former Bloody Elbow writer (and current Bleacher Report Senior Combat Sports Writer) Jonathan Snowden tweeted out that the UFC may be shopping the promotion to China Media Capital:
Strong rumors that #UFC in talks with China Media Capital to sell the promotion. Looking for a $6 billion valuation. Crazy times.— Jonathan Snowden (@JESnowden) March 17, 2016
It looks like the potential money on the table has dropped since then, with ESPN now reporting that Zuffa may be in advanced stages of sales negotiations and may have fielded bids from several companies. With an expected final price tag between $3.5-4 billion, WME/IMG, China Media Capital, Blackstone Group, and Dalian Wanda group are all potentially in the hunt.
So far, the UFC has neither confirmed nor denied this report, with UFC Vice President of Public Relations Dave Sholler telling ESPN, "As a private company, we don't discuss speculation or rumors related to our business."
Despite having a poor showing in 2014, which led to a downgraded credit rating, the UFC were able to bounce back last year for one of their best financial showings in the promotion's history, setting a new record with $600 million in revenue. That largely came off the backs of massive PPV draws from superstars Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor. Given the fickle nature of drawing power and star building, this may be the UFC's way of striking while the iron is hot.
Stay tuned as we'll be sure to keep you updated with more information as it becomes available.