UFC President Dana White has signed a new seven-year contract to extend his tenure at the company.
White spoke to Megan Olivi in an interview for the UFC's YouTube channel, and he announced he had signed a new deal to run concurrently with ESPN's new partnership with the MMA promotion:
Per ESPN's Michael Rothstein, White said: "Ari Emanuel and I just signed a new seven-year deal, too. So we're here for seven years. ESPN is here for seven years, and the incredible things that we're going to work on, I just can't even tell you how pumped I am for all this stuff."
Emanuel is the co-CEO of Endeavor, the company that holds the majority stake in the UFC and with whom White signed the deal.
White also believes the exclusive ESPN partnership is good news for UFC fans:
MMA Fighting's Shaheen Al-Shatti supplied further details on the implications of the deal:
The 49-year-old has been in charge of the UFC since 2001, when his school friends, Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, bought it.
Under White, it has gone from "the verge of bankruptcy" to a "multi-billion dollar enterprise," that has seen "fights in 175 countries, over 100 UFC training facilities worldwide and a television presence that has reached over a billion households," as Forbes' Danny Boice wrote in 2014.
As Rothstein noted, White's expansion of the company into the mainstream, which included the introduction of female fighters in 2012, helped make household names out of the likes of Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey.
UFC was bought by Endeavor in 2016, but White remained at the helm. He added:
"After the sale I stayed on and we've been working hard for the last two-and-a-half years to take this thing to the next level. That's why I'm here. I didn't stay here. It's not about money. It's not about any of that stuff.
"I don't care about any of that stuff. I like to win and I like to take this thing to the next level, the next level, the next level, and it's what we've always done and what we'll continue to do."