(Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta chill with Sheikh Tahnoon during a recent boar hunting trip. Photos courtesy of twitter.com/danawhite.)
And here we thought Dana White was just visiting Abu Dhabi to set up a monster fight card and spring Lee Murray out of jail. FiveOuncesofPain has broken the wild and developing story that after a few months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, the UFC has sold a piece of its empire to Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, son of former United Arab Emirates president Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and founder of the world-famous Abu Dhabi Combat Club. MMA Payout estimates that Sheikh Tahnoon now owns approximately 10% of the UFC, and the proceeds of the sale will likely go towards regaining control of Station Casinos.
According to the original report, the deal was brokered with the help of Renzo Gracie, who happens to be Sheikh Tahnoon’s BJJ instructor; Tahnoon is a black belt under Renzo. The sale has massive implications, but without an official statement from the UFC, there isn’t much more we can tell you. Either Sheikh Tahnoon becomes instrumental in helping the UFC become a truly global operation, or he creates a "too many cooks in the kitchen" situation, leading to counter-productive infighting and unfortunate ring girl choices. What’s clear is that Tahnoon has money and passion to spare. Let’s see how this thing plays out.