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Details Emerge in UFC’s 10% Sale to Abu Dhabi-Based Entertainment Company

Abu Dhabi Corniche Mall

Following up reports last week of Zuffa selling a chunk of the UFC to Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UFC has publicly released some information on the sale. First, the official statement via UFC.com:

Las Vegas, NV (USA) — UFC today announced that the organization Flash Entertainment, a leading live events company based in the United Arab Emirates, has acquired a ten percent stake in Zuffa, LLC, d/b/a Ultimate Fighting Championship.
 
UFC owners Lorenzo J. Fertitta, Frank Fertitta III and Dana White stated that they are pleased to have this partnership in place and are honored to be associated with Flash. The Fertitta brothers and White agree that this investment brings exceptional strategic value, expertise and global opportunities to the UFC brand.
 
“Over the past few years, we have built a relationship with all levels of the Flash organization. They share our vision, passion, and enthusiasm for the UFC,” said Lorenzo J. Fertitta, UFC Chairman and CEO. “We are confident that this partnership will accelerate the worldwide growth of the UFC.”
 
Ossama Khoreibi, Chairman of Flash Entertainment, commented, “Since our very first meeting, we were impressed by Lorenzo, Frank and Dana’s commitment to growing UFC as a global sport.” He continued, “Flash is equally committed to building Abu Dhabi’s profile as an international entertainment destination, and this partnership provides further proof of our company’s bold ambitions. We look forward to an exciting future ahead, working closely with our UFC partners to activate this sport in the UAE, the region and across the world.”…
 
Formed in Abu Dhabi in August 2008, Flash Entertainment is the region’s leading events consultancy, with a proven track record in delivering world-class events from movie premieres and classical shows to international tennis tournaments and megastar music concerts. Flash is made up of a team of industry professionals, offering comprehensive event management solutions from concept design and strategic planning, through to implementation, management and evaluation.

Dana White followed up the announcement with a Q&A on UFC.com to put it all into layman’s terms for the fans. Some highlights:


Why did UFC do this deal?
Dana White: We view this as the perfect strategic partnership to help us grow this business and fast track our expansion into other parts of the world. There are a lot of guys over the last nine years that have tried to buy in, invest, get us to go public, and try to partner up with the UFC. We got in this thing because we love this sport, we love the UFC, and we have this vision to take this thing globally and turn it into the biggest sport in the world. And when I say that, I know people think I’m a lunatic, but it’s true, and it’s gonna happen. So this deal is a perfect strategic partnership. These guys are awesome strategic partners to help us reach that goal even faster.

Who is Flash?
DW: Flash is an independent live events and entertainment organization based in the UAE. Its sole shareholder is the Government of Abu Dhabi. [Ed. note: In other words, Sheikh Tahnoon may not be called out by name, but he's in there somewhere.] We got to know these guys discussing an event in Abu Dhabi. This led to the investment conversation. After conducting in-depth due diligence, they saw the tremendous global potential of the UFC brand. The guys who run this company are young, hip, aggressive visionaries. They are big thinkers.

What is the structure of this deal, what exactly does Flash own?
DW: Flash acquired a 10 percent minority stake through a direct investment in the equity of Zuffa, LLC.

How will this affect the operations of the UFC?
DW: It affects it positively. As for the day to day and how everything runs, it’s business as usual. Strategically, in our global expansion, it’s gonna help us get to certain places a lot faster than we could have done it.

Were there any concerns about bringing another partner into the UFC fold?
DW: I didn’t feel that way at all. I don’t look at this as my baby and nobody else can touch it. The way I look at this thing is that the UFC is a brand, like Microsoft, McDonald’s or any of these other ones. I think that I’m gonna have a certain amount of time here and then my time will be done and I will have done my part. And then somebody else will carry it on after me. I don’t look at this like I’m gonna be here forever. A lot of people say ‘without Dana the UFC couldn’t do this or couldn’t do that.’ I think the UFC is bigger than that and bigger than one person, including me.

Was this deal done because UFC needed money?
DW: UFC has no financial issues and business has never been better. We did this deal because of the huge opportunities it provides for UFC’s global growth.
_______________________________

A few other important points: The sale — which may have gone down as early as October — will dilute all existing owners proportionately. Lorenzo Fertitta and Frank Fertitta Jr.’s ownership percentages went from 45% apiece to 40.5%. Dana White owned 10% of the company before the sale, and owns approximately 9% now — meaning that Flash Entertainment has a bigger stake in the company than he does. However, Flash will not be able to purchase a larger stake nor sell its interest to a third party. According to Zuffa, there are no plans to sell any more stakes in the UFC. Lorenzo Fertitta believes that Flash can accelerate the UFC’s growth in the Middle East, China, and India.

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Koeikan- January 12, 2010 at 11:10 am
"Was this deal done because UFC needed money?"

Almost a good question... Replace UFC with Station Casinos.
Smitty- January 12, 2010 at 10:41 am
Can't we all just get along.....right after all of you kick the living shit out of me and I sue you and win millions and dedicate my life to traveling all over the world to every single UFC event from now until I die, including the ones Abi Cadabra!
imakeutap- January 12, 2010 at 9:23 am
The UAE is awesome, it's run by a megabillionaire that loves grappling. Sounds like my kinda guy.
mthomas- January 12, 2010 at 9:19 am
^You are a fucking moron

*That was directed @ NOTSOB, not One Two
SiDeBuRnZ- January 12, 2010 at 9:13 am
Smart move. That movie was a turd. Did they ban Spiderman 3 as well?
J-Dog- January 12, 2010 at 8:58 am
According to Wikipedia, the United Arab Emirates banned the movie "You Don't Mess With the Zohan".
ReX13- January 12, 2010 at 8:35 am
Damn, Kimbo's Bread that was beautiful, man.

I'd like to give the world a Coke and a smile. And then watch some fighters choke the piss out of one another.
Kimbos Bread- January 12, 2010 at 8:31 am
@ NOTSOB

Take a good look around you buddy. The whole world is fucked up, it's not just the mid east.

The only way out of the shit whole we've dug ourselves into is if we all find common ground. Since we all like beating ths shit out of eachother, the UFC would be the perfect vehicle to bring about world peace (through violence, naturally).
NOTSOB- January 12, 2010 at 8:28 am
Fack the middle east. the Romans such have genocided there ass when they killed jesus. nothing but headaches over there followed by giving everyone esle headaches in the world with there gay ass antics of blowing up shit.
NOTSOB- January 12, 2010 at 8:25 am
.
NOTSOB- January 12, 2010 at 8:24 am
@trousesnout
fufufufu good word usage*

UFC is greedy.
how about concertianing on some good CARDS and not Crap they been putting out for the last half of year or so. making us pay for crappy ass crads.
Zyz Zyx- January 12, 2010 at 8:23 am
@One Two: You might be onto something there. What if Flash was looking into MMA promotion in addition to everything else they were doing? Maybe the UFC just insured that they would be working together instead of competing with someone who could potentially control all the MMA events in the middle east? Hm.
Kimbos Bread- January 12, 2010 at 8:19 am
This takes us one step closer to settling global disputes with bloody cage matches instead of terrorism and war.

UFC is making history with every move they make.


If only that were the case :P

Jokes aside, I'm very optimistic about this deal.
TrouserSnout- January 12, 2010 at 8:05 am
NOTSOB.....you fuckin noob....
One Two- January 12, 2010 at 7:57 am
thats a huge partner that guy has so much money fertiitas and danas whole net worth is like lunch money to this guy. he could start his own org lose a hundred million dollars and it wouldn't faze him.
NOTSOB- January 12, 2010 at 7:47 am
FIRST!

this is just a terrorist plot to blow up a UFC event.... it will happen watch.
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