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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)

I’m not going anywhere, says UFC president Dana White as ownership buyout looms

WME/IMG announces Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and the Government of Singapore Investment Fund will join primary stakeholder Silver Lake Partners

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 August, 2017, 11:38am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 August, 2017, 11:38am

UFC president Dana White said he was “not going anywhere” following reports last week that Beverly Hills talent agency WME/IMG had raised US$1.1 billion from two international investors to buy out some minority partners.

WME/IMG announced last week that Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and the Government of Singapore Investment Fund will join WME/IMG primary stakeholder Silver Lake Partners as strategic partners, stirring some speculation that UFC president White might leave.

In a letter to their shareholders, Silver Lake Partners reported WME/IMG, headed by Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell, who bought the UFC in July 2016 for US$4 billion, will use the US$1.1 billion to buy out some minority partners, with he transaction set to close this month.

“I’m not going anywhere, brother,” White told the Los Angeles Times. “Not only am I not going anywhere, I’m actually making moves in the office and doing [stuff] and changing things for the way I really want it. I’m burrowing myself in like a … tick.”

Emanuel entered the UFC business originally by helping former chairman Lorenzo Fertitta land a television network deal with Fox.

Under WME/IMG ownership, the UFC entered into a first-ever cross-promotion with another company by agreeing to let Showtime televise the August 26 pay-per-view boxing match between UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor and unbeaten boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Current light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones has been among those contending Emanuel is now the true “boss” of the UFC, a swipe at White’s pride in a relationship that has been watched closely since the president pocketed US$400 million from last year’s sale and could conceivably leave at any time for another pursuit.

Knockout price: MMA giant UFC sold to WME-IMG group for US$4 billion, says president Dana White

“Ari and I are partners. We’re getting involved in more [stuff]. We’re not going to spend a lot of money and not change things,” White said.

“I’m making a lot of changes in this new building for things I want changed.”