Last night word got out via a report on FloCombat.com and quickly spread throughout the fight sports world that UFC had accepted a bid from a joint group to sell the promotion. Today, UFC’s vice president of public relations, Dave Sholler, addressed the report as untrue.
Sholler issued a statement to MMAJunkie.com, denying FloCombat.com’s report. “FloCombat.com’s report indicating that UFC has been sold is false. We’ve communicated that to our staff members via an internal memo.” An email, co-signed by CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, was issued to all employees as well to deny the legitimacy of the claim. The text of the email, as released to MMAJunkie.com, read as follows:
“A report today by FloCombat.com indicating that the company has been sold is false. This follows other false speculation in the press recently.”
“Such misrepresentation of facts in the media negatively impacts our business, staff members and athletes. We have instructed our attorneys to investigate and take all appropriate legal actions against the parties publishing and contributing to these false stories.
“With International Fight Week and the historic UFC 200 rapidly approaching, we look forward to once again delivering a series of events that our fans won’t soon forget. We appreciate your hard work, diligence and commitment, and thank you for your focus as we continue to take the sport to new heights.”
Speculation over the sale of the company got started in May via an ESPN report, though nothing has ever been confirmed on the record. Fertitta and his brother, Frank Fertitta III, bought the promotion in 2001 for $2 million and have since grown the promotion’s worth substantially into the leader in mixed martial arts.
Bill Says: The text of the FloCombat story that we noted last night certainly was not malicious and was based off of confirmed sources according to Botter. If his sources burned him, then that’s a whole other problem. Most MMA sites that I follow have already run with the MMAJunkie report, or a version thereof if they were also issued information from UFC directly, to correct or report the new information, as we are doing here. We have, in light of this UFC statement, also retracted the original FloCombat story from the site. All of that said, this whole situation will play out in time and we will see which way it goes.