Recently, it was announced that the UFC sold a 10% minority stake to FLASH, an independent live events and entertainment company based in Abu Dhabi. In an interview with UFC.com, UFC president Dana White answered many of the questions that UFC fans had about what this means for the future of the UFC.
White described the reason for this partnership by stating, “We view this as the perfect strategic partnership to help us grow this business and fast track our expansion into other parts of the world.” Flash has global contacts that White believes will help the brand succeed in markets the UFC has yet to penetrate particulary in Asia. White continued, “We got in this thing because we love this sport, we love the UFC, and we have this vision to take this thing globally and turn it into the biggest sport in the world. And when I say that, I know people think I’m a lunatic, but it’s true, and it’s gonna happen.”
For fans left wondering how this will impact the UFC and the way it operates, White doesn’t think much will change. According to White, “As for the day to day and how everything runs, it’s business as usual. Strategically, in our global expansion, it’s gonna help us get to certain places a lot faster than we could have done it.” Regarding the fighters that comprise the UFC, White says, “This will have no effect on the fighters; it is business as usual.”
UFC 112 is tentatively planned for Abu Dhabi in April although White says there are no plans to open an office there. B.J. Penn is exed pectto headline this show against Frankie Edgar in a battle for the lightweight championship. Matt Hughes and Renzo Gracie are also expected to appear on the card.
White concluded, “I’ve been saying for years that UFC is going to become the biggest sport in the world. With this new partnership in place, it’s going to happen even faster. These guys get it and they love the sport. We built a relationship with them over the last few years, they’re guys we like, respect, and trust, and we know that they’re the perfect strategic partners. We made all the right moves over the years, done all the right things along the way, and we know that this is a good thing for the sport.”