(“The world, chico. And everything in it.”)
BY MATTHEW “THE FIGHT NERD” KAPLOWITZ
The more I think about it, the less faith I have in it. “Business as usual” seems to be the motto for the UFC after their historic purchase of Strikeforce. It came as a surprise to all of us when Ariel Helwani held the mic under Dana White’s chin to reveal an acquisition that made many MMA fans’ stomachs tie themselves into knots.
Some fans reacted positively to Zuffa’s latest splurge, citing that the best talent would now be under one roof and that all the fights we have been dying for can finally come true. Older fans like myself were more than skeptical; we had seen this before and we knew the chances of this situation being any different were as slim as Gina Carano making weight for a fight on her first attempt.
Let’s take a quick jump into the way-back machine and look at the previous transactions of Zuffa and see what has happened to other companies that were scooped under its umbrella, starting with their most important purchase…
Zuffa buys the UFC – 2001
Station Casino owners Frank Fertitta III and Lorenzo Fertitta joined forces with young entrepreneur (and former aerobics-instructor) Dana White in 2001 to make a purchase that would end up changing the course of sports history. White convinced the Fertittas to buy the assets to the UFC, which in 2001 was still black-listed from television and seemingly on its last legs.
Bob Meyrowitz, owner of the UFC, along with Semaphore Entertaintment Group, sold Zuffa the rights to all of the intellectual properties of the UFC for $2 million. At the time, it was a risky investment at that price, but now, it’s more than a bargain. Nonetheless, Zuffa pushed on and begun the battle to legalize MMA around the country and get the sport back on pay-per-view. They finally returned to PPV with UFC 33, which turned out to be disastrous, as the show cut off during the main event.