Lorenzo Fertitta: The UFC's Secret Weapon

Derek BolenderSenior Analyst ISeptember 18, 2008

Since being purchased by Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta in January 2001 the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has been on a constant ascension and is slowly making its way into the sports mainstream in the United States.  

The UFC ownership is made up of billionaire brothers Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta (each own 45 percent) and high-school buddy Dana White (owns the remaining 10 percent). Since day one, White has been in charge of the day-to-day operations as the companies President while the Fertittas have been strictly focused on their Station Casinos, Inc. business operation. 

In the seven plus years Dana White has been at the helm he has turned the UFC into the biggest mixed martial arts organization on the planet.

According to the recent article "Ultimate Cash Machine" by Matthew Miller in Forbes Magazine, the Fertittas paid $2 million for the UFC in 2001 and the current value of the organization is near $1 billion.

Miller goes on to state that in 2001 the number of pay-per-view buys was near 145,000 and in 2007 that number ballooned to a staggering 5.1 million. 

This is unprecedented growth for a sports organization is such a relatively small time frame.  The fact of the matter is that this type of exponential increase in viewership and in overall value will be extremely hard to maintain going forward for years to come.  There has to be a plateau at some point to consider.

The UFC already has large sponsorship deals with Budweiser and Harley Davidson.  They have the majority of the best MMA fighters in the world on their payroll.  They also have the best production of events in all of MMA. 

So how will the UFC be able to sustain growth and continue to expand their business?  The answer is simple.  Attack the overseas markets and aggressively take their product worldwide.   

Spearheading this global march now lies in the hands of Lorenzo Fertitta. 


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