We Felt Really Comfortable With Fox: UFC CEO

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Sept. 12 (Bloomberg) -- UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertita discusses the growth of the sport with Betty Liu on Bloomberg Television's "In The Loop." (Source: Bloomberg)

This week i sat down with ultimate fighting championship chairman and ceo lorenzo fertitta oh, at the business summit in new york, the only state where ufc is still illegal.

He said he would never give up the fight to bring the ultimate fighting championship to new york, but i also talked about why he decided to go to fox sports one and about his poker business.

We felt very comfortable with fox.

They clued us in to what their plans were.

We knew we would be one of the pillars.

It was going to be for all, major league baseball, nascar and ufc.

Being associated with the nfl is not a bad deal.

In terms of the other parts of your business, your brother runs the casino business.

The leverage what you learn on the gambling side for the fighting side?

We are in constant communication.

We did a joint venture where they ufc has joint ownership in the first legal online gaming site.

We are licensed in the state of nevada.

We have dealt over 10 million hands of poker.

It is the only legal u.s.- based online gaming site.

We are hopeful that by the end of the year we will be able to go live in the state of new jersey.

We are not necessarily advocates of online gaming, but we made a decision that it is inevitable and we want to play in that space.

How do you leverage that?

We found early on that when a lot of these illegal operators were operating in the u.s., they were coming to the ufc throwing ungodly amounts of money to us.

We could not take the money, but the sums were so great it made us take a step back and look at it, and we found a massive crossover between our core demographic and online poker players.

Young guys, 21- 34, those are the people spending money online.

We made a decision to get into that business.

We do our own production.

We are able to integrate whatever we want into our shows, so we started marketing ultimate poker, ultimate gaming, last year, just to build the brand, and now we are doing a lot of things to co-promote.

You where saying these illegal operators were coming to you saying we want to advertise during your fights and they were throwing -- tens of millions of dollars at us to get exposure because we were doing such big numbers with that core demographic.

They felt the association was good for their brand.

Something clicked.

We said we are already in the gaming business.

Let's do it the right way, regulate it, and that is what we launched in may.

Are you going to go public at any point?

You never say never.

I have run a public company before.

We know what it is like.

From the ufc perspective, it does not require a lot of capital investment.

We would not need capital to grow the business and we like being private.

On the casino site, who knows.

Maybe spin off one unit?

You could take the poker company public, possibly.

I do not know of the casino company has an interest in being public.

We look at things to see what makes sense.

Are there other lines of business that could capitalize on that core demographic?


We are selling not just fights, but a lifestyle.

Our fan base wants to live that lifestyle.

Not necessarily getting punched in the nose, but working out, eating right, training right.

We have a joint venture with 44 hour fitness, who sold that to us.

We will have almost 100 ufc- branded gyms , with large facilities and small facilities.

You a memo?

-- own them all?

We own them, and our intent is to go global.

We are looking at opportunities in europe and south america.

The business is growing very well at the same time that our core business in the ufc is growing as well.

It is not just men in the ultimate fighting championship.

Women are a big part of the sport, and rhonda rouse

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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