An ongoing legal dispute about the direction of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) business may be settled by a jiu-jitsu match between brothers and co-owners, Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta.
Lorenzo confirmed in Las Vegas recently the existence oft he clause in their ownership contract that says a jiu-jitsu match will be the way to settle a dispute. UFC, whose business is worth more than $2 billion, is the foremost provider of mixed-martial arts, considered by many as the fastest growing sport in the world today.
When the brothers were starting out with 50-50 ownership stakes, their attorneys told them they need some kind of dispute resolution. “If you guys don’t agree to something, there’s got to be a way to resolve it,” Lorenzo Ferititta quoted the lawyers as saying to them.
“So what we decided to do is we’ll have three five-minute rounds of jiu-jitsu, sport jiu-jitsu, which is points-based, with UFC president Dana White as the referee. It hasn’t happened yet. We have a great relationship, we’re very different personalities but we always agree.”
The Fertittas operate 18 “Station Casinos”, gambling facilities which have 22,000 poker machines, more than any other firm in Las Vegas. They bought the UFC for $2 million but incurred almost $50 million in debt later, and Lorenzo, who holds a master’s in finance degree from New York University, easily figured out this was not good for their bank balance.
”There were plenty of sleepless nights,” he said. ”But because of my passion as a fan for the sport, I wasn’t willing to quit, to tap out, ” referring to a fighter’s signal to quit during a match.
His steadfast faith in the sport, coupled with instituting safety measures, and building fighters as marketable brands, have brought UFC success not only in the U.S., but also in South America, Europe, and Australia.
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