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.”
With the sale, the Fertitta brothers’ ownership stake in Zuffa drops from 45% to 40.5% each while Dana White’s drops from 10% to 9% putting him below Flash on the totem pole. But don’t take that to mean Dana White is going anywhere nor will his role as UFC president and promoter diminish. Lorenzo expects day-to-day operations to remain the same.
While there’s some speculation that the sale gives the Fertitta’s much-needed cash to fight for their financially-troubled Station Casinos, Dana White says the deal was simply about forming a long-term strategic partnership to aid in the UFC’s international expansion efforts, specifically in the Middle East and Asia.
It’s unknown how much Flash Entertainment actually paid for their 10% share, however we do know contractually they will not be able to purchase a larger stake in Zuffa nor will they be allowed to sell their share to a third-party. Zuffa has “no plans to sell any other UFC stakes.”