I gave my thoughts as to why I thought the deal was done on last week:
We recently heard that Dana White thinks the UFC/MMA could be the largest sport in the world by 2020. Well, to do that they would need to continue their international expansion and to do that they need money and connections. Sheik Tahnoon provides a ton of both, so a minority percentage of the UFC is probably well worth what the Sheik can provide for them.
The UFC released a statement about the sale on today:
"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."
I mean it was a no-brainer that this deal would heavily involve spreading the brand of the UFC internationally. It was just who, and how much power would the buyers have with the minority stake. Flash Entertainment now owns 10%, Dana White 9%, and the Fertitta brothers at 40.5 each according to multiple sources. Some background on the Flash Entertainment group can be found after the jump.
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.
Flash Entertainment is playing a major role in the Emirate's evolution as a leading entertainment & leisure destination having delivered some of the most high profile events in the region including George Michael & Alicia Keys, Shakira, Coldplay, Andrea Bocelli, The Killers, Rihanna and the Yasalam series of concerts featuring Beyonce, Jamiroquai, Timbaland, Kings of Leon and Aerosmith. In January 2009, Flash launched the Capitala World Tennis Championship which saw six of the world’s top male players compete in Abu Dhabi’s first international tennis tournament. The event has gone on to win numerous awards and widespread critical acclaim and in January 2010 saw the second year of the competition.
Flash is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Winner “Event Management Company of the Year” - Sound & Stage Awards 2009
Winner “Sports Event of the Year” - Capitala World Tennis Championship 2009 - Middle East Event Awards 2009
Winner “Concert of the Year 2008” George Michael & Alicia
Keyslive in Abu Dhabi - What’s On Dubai Awards
Winner “Concert of the Year 2008” Shakira live in Abu Dhabi - What’s On Abu Dhabi Awards
^From the same press release.