Being that it's only been a few months since the UFC was sold to WME-IMG for a staggering $4 billion, you might expect to see some moving parts from the bygone Zuffa days still hanging around to ensure the transition goes as smoothly as possible. One such moving part, as it turns out, is none other than former CEO, Lorenzo Fertitta.
Despite stepping down from his position and accepting a "passive minority interest" in the new company as part of the deal, it seems as if Fertitta is still helping get deals done while enjoying, what I can only assume, is a cushy retirement, filled with fruity drinks being consumed in swimming pools full of gold doubloons.
Most recently, Fertitta served a crucial role in getting one of New York's most prominent fighters, Chris Weidman, onto the UFC's debut card in Madison Square Garden. Both he and training partner, Al Iaquinta had been locked in to fight Yoel Romero and Thiago Alves respectively, but when Iaquinta pulled out of the fight citing contract issues, it appeared that Weidman might join him on the sidelines of what is set to be a historic event for the promotion.
Luckily, Fertitta was able to step in and get the deal done when the original negotiations fell through. As Weidman told the Luke Thomas Show during a recent appearance:
"Basically, I met with Dana, we had a nice long dinner, we talked for a while and basically negotiating, talking business, and he thought I probably should do this with Lorenzo. So, that was Sunday night when I was out to dinner with Dana in the city, long night. I end up getting a plane to Vegas the next morning, and headed out to Lorenzo’s compound. I got to hang with him a little bit, and we ended up getting a deal done. When you start out, everything is through your managers and Joe Silva. As you progress, at some point I just kind of ended up working with Lorenzo. Obviously, he left, and everything we were doing was now on speculation, so I ended up back in touch with him, and we made it work."
Weidman made sure to mention that he currently has a good business relationship with Dana White, and he doesn't see himself having to do much in the way of negotiations for the near future. Of course, that could all change, dependent on how the former champ performs against Yoel Romero on November 12th.
Hear the full audio below: