With the recent news that the UFC has sold 10% of Zuffa to the UAE (United Arab Emirates), the UFC is on its way to help make MMA the biggest sport in the world. The reasoning that the UAE is going to be a big help in the “10 year plan” is simply because the UAE can open some doors in to other larger markets faster than the UFC can do on their own. This making MMA (and of course the UFC) bigger in a shorter amount of time just like Dana Whites “10 year plan” intends. Knowing that the UFC will be branching into bigger international markets, it makes a person think about what a long way the UFC has come.
As most of us UFC fans know, The Ultimate Fighting Championship started off with the sole idea of what martial art would be most superior. For example, would a Karate guy beat a Judo guy? Would a kickboxer beat a wrestler? After a while, the scrawny BJJ fighter Royce Gracie continued to prove that BJJ was superior as he continued to defeat very large men. This also made the events more interesting to fans that watched the small Brazilian defeat much larger men. After having a few UFC events, people were talking and this talking eventually received recognition from the government. With all this recognition, it was very hard to show events as well as to get the events on to PPVs. Then came in Dana White and the Fertittas.
SEG (former owners of UFC) were having issues with sanctioning as well as nearly being bankrupt which caught the attention of fighter manager Dana White who then took his ideas of where this sport can be to the Fertitta brothers who had pull with the NSAC. The Fertitta brothers then took the gamble, bought the UFC for $2 million, regulated rules and created Zuffa, LLC. Zuffa also got the UFC back on PPV for UFC 33:Victory in Vegas. This starting the monster that we all know as The Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Rise to the top
Before the UFC was the UFC, there was a legit competitor in Pride Fighting Championships. Pride had even made their way from Japan to the USA but there was an underlining issue and that issue was the UFC knew that Pride was having financial issues. Dana, Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta must have played monopoly a lot as children because, they realized that when another competitor is down, they have to buy boardwalk while the owner of boardwalk will sell it cheaper than usual. So Zuffa bought Pride FC with a contract that also included all Pride tapes, fighter contracts as well as tv time in Japan. Although that’s what the deal consisted of, the Japanese (Yakuza) made the fighter contracts “non-transferable” and also killed any chance of the UFC making it onto Japanese television. Either way, the UFC was now the top dog in the MMA promotions circuit.
After purchasing Pride in 2007, the UFC could focus on its own growth because of a big lack in competitors. As a result, the UFC has made MMA what it is today and MMA is huge. That although is not enough for the business and MMA passionate Zuffa LCC as Zuffa has a “10 year plan” to make MMA the worlds largest sport. Dana White has also confirmed that at the start of this decade, the partnership between Zuffa LLC and UAE is the first step to making our favorite sport the biggest in the world.
Way to go Zuffa LLC.