Station Casinos has announced that it will file for bankruptcy protection in the next month.
Why do you care as a sports fan?
Because the Fertitta brothers, who own in between 20 and 25 percent of Station, own 90 percent of the UFC. Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta purchased the UFC in 2001 for $2 million. Today, the mixed martial arts leader is probably worth more than $1 billion.
So it doesn’t seem too likely that the Fertittas would do anything to sacrifice UFC in order to could prop up its casino and hotel business. But even though Lorenzo left Station to become chair and chief executive of the UFC last June, the brothers aren’t ready to ditch the business.
If all works as planned, the Fertittas and their partner Colony Capital reportedly will infuse the company with $244 million in cash, which would allow Station to continue running as normal through a pre-packaged bankruptcy arrangement.
The UFC is protected from anything that happens with Station, as they’re incorporated separated as Zuffa LLC. But they are connected because of it’s the Fertittas money on the line. So the declining fortunes of Station could affect the way UFC is run.
Last year, the brothers were at No. 897 on the Forbes Billionaire list, each having a net worth of $1.3 billion. This year, like many, the Fertittas are no longer on the list.
An official connected with the UFC told us a month ago they wouldn’t be commenting on the connection between the two, but UFC president Dana White did comment on a CBS Radio show called “MMAsh” three weeks ago.
“Station Casinos and the UFC have nothing to do with each other,” White told the host "Carmichael Dave," according to MMA blog, Five Ounces of Pain. “They never have. They’ve always been kept separate… Right now in Las Vegas (and) all over the world, companies are in trouble now.”
“The problem with Stations is – Stations is making money – they just have too much debt because they just did this buyback. And one thing you have to understand, the Fertittas only own 20 percent of Station Casinos. When they just did this deal to buy back all of the stock, they only owned 20 percent.”
White then dismissed that the Station troubles could lead the Fertittas to sell UFC.
“Trust me, don’t worry about the Fertittas being in any soup lines any time soon, OK? They’re doing just fine (and Station Casinos) has nothing to do with the UFC. And all of the people who think the UFC is going to get sold and I’m going to get fired. Keep dreaming.”
In the meantime, UFC fans might want to set up a Google Alert for “Station Casinos.”
When you can stay at the best hotels under $100 a night, boon times in Vegas aren't coming back any time soon.
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