UFC president Dana White insists that the UFC is not for sale, but if someone wants to throw billions of dollars his way, he’s willing to listen to what they have to say.
After all, there’s no harm in listening, right?
“I don’t know if there’s any downside,” White said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I guess if there’s anything for me to be bummed out about is this actually came out a few weeks and they said (our valuation) was $6 billion. Now we’re down to $4 (billion). So in the last couple of weeks I lost $2 billion. I guess that would be the downside. But it’s all upside. One of the craziest things to me in this whole thing is that if you look at the unique situation in which the Clippers had to sell, there were multiple bidders from serious, serious guys and it went for $2 billion. The fact that the UFC is being talked about from $4-6 billion – and nobody’s even batting an eye at that – is pretty impressive to me.”
White said there is no timeline for the UFC to be sold. In fact, he took it a step further.
“The UFC is not for sale,” White said. “Since 2010, people have made bids on the UFC. We’ve never sold. Listen, we are not for sale. But let me tell you what: If somebody shows up here with $4 billion, we can definitely talk.”
Even if UFC were sold, it’s not as though White would disappear. He would still run the day-to-day operations. He would just report to a different owner.
But out of a job? No way.
“Listen, if this thing goes for $4 billion, I don’t know if I’m going to need a job,” White joked. “At the end of the day, it’s about building the sport and it’s about building the UFC. If you look at what we’ve done in the past, we’ve made strategic deals to help the sport and help UFC. We will continue to do what’s right for this sport and what’s right for this company. Everything has gotten better over the last 16 years, and that’s our goal for the future. This thing’s like our baby.”
White also addressed the recent snafu with Conor McGregor, who was supposed to fight Nate Diaz at UFC 200 in July but was pulled from the card after failing to fulfill promotional obligations. There were reports that McGregor held out for more money, but White dispelled that notion immediately.
“Let me clear that up,” he said. “Conor McGregor never asked for $10 million. That’s not true. Conor McGregor has never, ever signed a deal and agreed to a deal and then backed out of his deal or tried to hold us up for more money. That kid is stand-up. It’s the exact opposite actually. Conor McGregor has signed a deal to fight somebody, that person has fallen off the card, and Conor McGregor steps up and says ‘I’ll fight anybody you tell me to fight.’ He has never (held out for more money). That’s an absolute lie that was put out there by the media.”
McGregor did, however, back out of a press conference in April. He was in Iceland training for his fight with Diaz and opted not to attend a mandatory media event in Las Vegas.
“We bend a lot for Conor and give him a lot of leeway,” White said. “The fans hit us up on that and so do a lot of the fighters, but he deserves it. The guy is an unbelievable fighter. He goes out and fights anybody, anywhere, anytime. He has never held us up for money. That’s not true. (But not fulfilling media obligations) – thats just the one thing we can’t bend on. We had other people flying in from Poland and Brazil and other parts of the world, too.”
White said McGregor didn’t want to participate in the press conference virtually, nor did White want to go down that path.
“Then I’d have 15 other fighters trying to Skype in,” he said. “The media obligations are tough. I was on the phone all night last night and all day today just talking about this Darren Rovell rumor. It’s part of the job. It’s what you have to do, whether you want to or not.”