Dana White claims PFL raised $280M from the Middle East to buy Bellator

UFC president Dana White has responded to the ongoing rumors surrounding the possible acquisition of Bellator MMA by PFL. Speculations have been made about the potential change in ownership of Bellator, which is currently owned by US-based media conglomerate Paramount Global.

Veteran MMA journalist Ariel Helwani stated earlier this year that Bellator MMA was up for sale and that its existing owners were searching for possible purchasers.

According to a report by The Todd Atkins Show, PFL (founded by American entrepreneur Donn Davis) is close to acquiring Bellator.

During the UFC Vegas 73 press conference, Dana White expressed skepticism about PFL’s ability to purchase Bellator. White scoffed at the notion of PFL acquiring Bellator, emphasizing the financial challenges faced by both organizations.

He said: “I’m hearing that they [PFL] are raising money right now, you know, 280 million, 300 million — I don’t know what the number is — from the Middle East. And I’ve done a lot of business in the Middle East. Those guys are sharp.”

White expressed doubts about PFL’s prospects, questioning the rationale behind investing such a substantial sum in a company that struggles financially, fails to attract viewership, and experiences poor ticket sales.

He continued: “I don’t know who in the hell would give them [PFL] 280 million dollars because I’m hearing they’re buying Bellator. Right? So, you’re an organization that’s burning cash, you have no ratings, and selling no tickets. And you’re gonna raise 280 million to buy a company that’s burning cash, sells no tickets, and does no ratings. Sounds f**king absolutely genius to me.”

Additionally, Patrick Auger discussed the possibility of Bellator changing its ownership on The Fight Business podcast. Auger also mentioned the UFC (led by Dana White and owned by Endeavor) as a potential buyer for Bellator. He noted that PFL and One Championship could be interested parties, despite their status as privately funded organizations.

Auger emphasized that Bellator currently stands as the only profitable major MMA organization outside of the UFC.

MMA journalist Ariel Helwani recently discussed the matter on The MMA Hour podcast. Contrary to the rumors, Helwani stated that PFL is not on the verge of acquiring Bellator. He did acknowledge that PFL had expressed interest earlier in the year but made it clear that no deal was imminent.

Helwani did reveal that two other “major players” are actively pursuing the purchase of Bellator. While their identities remain undisclosed, Helwani hinted that the MMA community could expect an announcement regarding these potential buyers in 2024.