BLOODIED bone visibly juts out of his ring finger but Josh Emmett keeps on fighting. At the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), broken bones need not stop the spectacle. Violence sells. And in the case of the UFC, a mixed martial-arts league, it sells for $4 billion—the largest sale of a single sports organisation in history.
For Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, who bought UFC for just $2m in 2001, this month’s deal is a thumping victory. Back then, mixed martial arts (a free-for-all of boxing, ju-jitsu, wrestling and other disciplines) was banned in New York state and branded “human cockfighting” by Senator John McCain. Now, the UFC dominates the field. It claims to be in 1.1 billion homes in 156 countries and to be the world’s largest pay-per-view event provider. It has a $100m annual contract with the Fox cable-TV network in America and boasts a growing digital-streaming platform.
The new owners are a group led by WME-IMG, an American talent agency. Their executives are thought to be bullish on the future of UFC’s $10 a month digital-streaming platform, Fight Pass, and future…Continue reading
First published here: http://j.mp/29Owb3o