Kraft Group Now Owns Part of the UFC
The Kraft Group will be adding mixed martial arts to its portfolio of professional sports ventures.
The company, founded by Robert Kraft, is part of a group of investors that recently made a high-profile deal to purchase the UFC. Patriots spokesperson Stacey James confirmed the news with Boston.com on Monday.
The New York Times reported on Sunday night that the MMA promotion was sold to WME-IMG for $4 billion. The deal is being called the “the most expensive transaction for an organization in sports history” by ESPN.
According to FloCombat’s Jeremy Botter, who broke the news of the UFC’s potential sale last month, WME-IMG courted several investors to help finance the purchase, including the Kraft Group. The MMA website also reported that WME-IMG and the Kraft Group would likely act as the North American face of the new ownership team.
The new deal will expand the company’s involvement in the sports world, as the Kraft Group currently owns both the Patriots and Revolution.
It’s not a huge surprise that the New England-based organization is getting into the fight business as Kraft and UFC president Dana White have gotten pretty chummy over the years.
White, who is staying on as president of the promotion, is a huge Patriots fan and has often been spotted sideline at games. Kraft and several New England players have popped up at UFC events from time to time as well. Most recently, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made an appearance at UFC 200 in Las Vegas over the weekend, where he playfully traded punches with pop superstar Justin Timberlake.