A UFC spokesman on Monday shot down a FloCombat report that indicated ownership had accepted an offer of $4.2 billion to sell the company.
Dave Sholler, the UFC's vice president of public relations, athlete marketing and development, sent a statement to Yahoo Sports late Monday denying the story.
"FloCombat.com's report indicating that the UFC has been sold is false," Sholler said in the statement. "We've communicated that to our staff members tonight via an internal memo."
Sholler would not answer questions and UFC president Dana White declined comment. ESPN reported on May 9 that the UFC was in the advanced stages of talks to sell the company. White denied that to Yahoo Sports on that day.
Jeremy Botter of FloCombat reported Monday that according to multiple unnamed sources, a group led by WME/IMG would purchase the UFC for $4.2 billion. According to Botter's report, the majority of money for the deal would come from Chinese companies Dalian Wanda Group and TenCent Holdings. In addition, Botter reported that The Kraft Group, owned by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, is also part of the deal to buy the UFC.
Our story on the UFC’s acceptance of a $4.2 billion bid for company sale is updated with more information: https://t.co/tZhxZtaYUQ
— FloCombat (@FloCombat) June 20, 2016
There have been rumors for several months about the potential sale, but none have been able to be confirmed. If the UFC is, indeed, sold for $4.2 billion, it would be the largest sports sale in history. Last July, Forbes named the Real Madrid soccer team as the world's most valuable sports franchise at $3.26 billion. White and partners Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta purchased the UFC for $2 million in 2001 from Semaphore Entertainment Group.
Ari Emanuel, the brother of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, is the co-chair of WME and is close with UFC top management, including White and the Fertitta brothers. WME also represents former women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.