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Report: Lorenzo Fertitta leaving Station Casinos to work full-time for UFC

Lorenzo FertittaAccording to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, UFC president Dana White announced to the promotion’s employees today that UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta is resigning as president of Station Casinos, the casino business that he co-owns with brother Frank Fertitta.

The report indicates that Fertitta will now work for the UFC on a full-time basis with the goal of expanding the company’s overall business. Meltzer also states that Fertitta and White will be the “co-heads of the UFC.”

As president of Station Casinos, Fertitta earned $113.8 million in 2007, according to Meltzer. The total made him the second-highest paid casino executive in Las Vegas last year.

Frank Fertitta III is now solely in charge of Station Casinos as the company’s CEO.

It is unclear whether today’s announcement is the same one that White had hinted at several weeks ago during an ESPN.com interview or if he had something else in mind at the time that ultimately fell through.

“There’s something no one else has heard,” White began to state during the interview. “You have no idea some of the stuff that we have planned. I’m going to make an announcement next week that is going to blow people’s minds. That deal is done, but my employees don’t even know yet. I’m renting out a place next Thursday and I’m going to tell them. Then we’ll make the announcement later that day. It’s an indicator of where this business is going over the next five years.

After using strong language to describe the forthcoming announcement, White attempted to downplay its impact in recent interviews after the announcement had been postponed twice.

In an article published today by Yahoo! Sports, White felt a need to take a proactive approach in addressing potential criticism that his announcement may not have been all that he initially promoted it to be.

“The Internet may not consider this huge news, but what the people on the Internet think is huge and what I think is huge are two different things,” White is quoted as saying in the article. “But you know what? I think I have a pretty good track record. I think this is maybe the biggest day in UFC history. I’m so excited, I can’t begin to explain it to you. This is an historic day for me and this company.”

52 COMMENTS
  • Jose Yero says:

    Wow

    what a waste of time…am I a UFC employee?

    why should I care?

    really?

    what was the point of dana hyping this up like us fans will care about it?

    man this is a waste of my time…

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  • Fabricio says:

    LOL……Congrats to Lorenzo…………….

    and I refuse to believe this is what he had in mind.

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  • Evan says:

    I know people will complain but this is a big deal.

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  • xx2000xx says:

    Two theories on it.

    #1. Lorenzo had a meeting with his brother, they know the sport is blowing up and they want him to step up more to be the face of the UFC to make it more professional. It would fit in line with the marketing and merchandising they plan on expanding.

    #2. Once it peaks in a year or two, they sell the company and he goes back to working with the casinos.

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  • Mike says:

    Actually Kevin Iole had this first, but considering you didn’t correct your story from last week that claimed MMA in NY was defeated and that NY was the big announcement, it shouldn’t be a surprise you got this wrong, too.

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  • Evan says:

    I go with theory one xx2000xx

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  • Sam Caplan says:

    Mike, what makes you so sure that NY wasn’t the announcement he intended all along? The announcement was postponed twice, giving White additional time to announce something else. I’ve seen nothing to make me believe our source was wrong. If you think Lorenzo Fertitta leaving Station Casinos was the announcement that White had originally intended, I think you’re pretty naive.

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  • JoHn says:

    SAM i think this was the announcement in part but i think there is more to come, why would they have gotten all the employees together to announce the n.y. deal, this seems to fall more in line with the announcement, and i think its a great move

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  • Sam Caplan says:

    This falls more in line with the announcement? I guess we’ll just agree to disagree.

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  • Jose Yero says:

    so lorenzo fertito is going to be danas new babysitter?

    who cares?

    besides the fertito bros and dana?

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  • Cobra Kai says:

    Sam,

    This announcement actually fits what Dana billed it as more than the NY announcement. It has a greater impact on the sport for the next 5 years. No one expected it. No one even suggested it as a possibility as far as I know. Granted it didn’t blow my mind, but Dana overhypes everything. Although most hardcore fans won’t think it is a big deal, this it really is.

    You might say that Mike is naive for believing this is the original announcement but it seems more plausible than the NY announcement to me. Honestly, I don’t think either one was the original announcement. I don’t know what it was supposed to be but I think they were both attempts to fill in a huge announcement that didn’t happen or Dana realized he overhyped. Either way, this IS the announcement whether you or I think it was a cover up or not. I can’t believe you are still sticking to your guns on the NY thing. I said it when you posted the original article, if your source is wrong it is going to come back on you. Well, whether they were right or wrong, Dana publicly disagrees with them so as far as the public goes, your source is wrong now.

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  • Phil says:

    It’s hard to tell if this was the original announcement or the NY thing. I lean away from the NY thing because he said it was a done deal, but if you have a source who is reliable, it’s hard to tell now, all we have is what Dana will say, and he wont’ admit it being the NY thing.

    As for this being a disappointment and how much it was hyped up, Dana really only mentioned it once, in the espn the magazine article. Every thing else was hype created on the internet, and him answering direct questions about it.

    Personally, I don’t blame him for handling the situation exactly as he did, whether the announcement was supposed to be the NY thing or it’s always been this. He had all the mma blogs and message boards talking about the UFC right after another org had a show on network TV. Why would he shut off the hype machine? No matter what the announcement was, tv deal, NY, whatever, anything short of Randy Fedor in the octagon would have left the internet trolls disappointed, so he let the hype machine run it’s course.

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  • Sam Caplan says:

    “Well, whether they were right or wrong, Dana publicly disagrees with them so as far as the public goes, your source is wrong now.”

    If you do not know what the original announcement was, how do you know our source is wrong? The fact that he said it was a done deal and then postponed the announcement twice speaks volumes.

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  • Someone says:

    What was the point of delaying this announcement? Especially on the days that the NY votes were supposed to go through?

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  • Sam Caplan says:

    Thank you.

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  • Mike Rome says:

    I think you’re right that this may not have been the intended announcement, but announcing that a bill had passed a committee and would eventually get to the floor of two houses, where they could have debates, possibly win, and then hope the governor doesn’t veto…it seems suspect to me to announce that a bill to legalize MMA in new york is 1/5 of the way through the battle. Moreso than announcing Lorenzo moving over.

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  • Simon Cason says:

    This is great news. The hatred (albeit ignorant) that is directed towards Dana is unfair and is now on the back burner because if you are stupid enough to be one of these unfortunate few that are truely ignorant, then at least their is still Lorenzo in the picture now. So all these haters out there have no reason to trash talk the UFC. This spells doom for all other orgz. This also will eventually mean that any and all aspects of Mixed Martial Arts will be associated with the UFC. And as far as it being a let down, Dana himself said the whole time that this story was never meant to be a media busting story. It was intended to be about the company and the employ’s of the UFC. Great News, and Great times from here on in for the UFC…EX/Crap, Adrenaline, Afflicted, IFL, Dream…Dont let the UFC’s revolving door hit you in your asses on the way out. That includes you Fatty Shaw. Now you can go back to Boxing where you never got any attention, respect, or accolades.

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  • Cobra Kai says:

    Why is this a huge announcement?

    1. Dana can barely keep up with the events the UFC is having now. Lorenzo can hire another person to do Dana’s job in Europe, another person for Asia, another person for South America if he wants. He can manage all of them. Dana couldn’t do that by himself because he was to involved with the day to day stuff, and needed to be.

    2. Lorenzo has better business experience than Dana does. He will make sure smart business decisions are being made. I think he is the reason that they are doing a show on the same day as Affliction. Think about it, Dana could have planned this a long time ago. It only happened when Lorenzo got involved.

    3. Globalization will improve the sport. There will be more money because there are more fans. Lorenzo said that there are 350 million males age 18-34 in Asia. That is more people than the population of the USA.

    4. Lorenzo is going to push the merchandising, and other streams of income. This means more money for fighters without having to fight.

    5. Lorenzo is a more professional face for MMA. He will be able to get bigger sponsors because he is not dropping the f-bomb every 2 seconds like Dana does. Networks will be more likely to work with Lorenzo as well.

    While it won’t happen overnight, Lorenzo can take UFC to the next level.

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  • Arashikage says:

    Its not the news everyone on the internet was hoping it was. It still is a big deal and a in line with what Dana said. While we as fans might not see any difference immediately. I think if you look back on the today in 5 years like Dana said. There will probably be a huge impact. I was hoping for Mayweather, but as the days went on, it was clear this was going to be an announcement that wasn’t what we typically expected from announcements.

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  • Zack with a ck says:

    I think the announcements were related. I read some speculation that Lorenzo’s position with the casinos was an issue with the NY people for regulating MMA.

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  • ultmma says:

    DW over hyping something. shocking and breaking news.

    I seriously hoped DW was going to 1) rent out a place to announce this 2) change the game for the next 5 years 3) blow all other MMA announcements out of the water

    DW, steps to the podium and says ” The coaches for season 9 of TUF will be GSP and Thiago Alves …….seriously that was it. The internet hypes everything 2 much anyway.”

    yes DW blame the internet, the same medium that kept your sport alive until 2005

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  • Jason Brewer says:

    The next big announcement from Zuffa will probably be that they will be serving blueberry bagels in the break room from now on and the guy that fixes the copy machine at Zuffa headquarters just had a baby!!

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  • bjjdenver says:

    So basically, what we have here, is the wrestling scenario from a few years ago, where they split into to rival “companies”, lol. Lorenzo vs Dana!!!

    Sorry for the uneducated, vague, pro wrasslin’ comparison.

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  • Trsigley says:

    I agree Cobra, but didn’t he say 350 million males age 18-34 in India?

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  • GoofyMonkey says:

    Please let this mean Dana is leaving.Please let this mean Dana is leaving.Please let this mean Dana is leaving.Please let this mean Dana is leaving.Please let this mean Dana is leaving.Please let this mean Dana is leaving.Please let this mean Dana is leaving.Please let this mean Dana is leaving.Please let this mean Dana is leaving.Please let this mean Dana is leaving.Please let this mean Dana is leaving.

    What? I was the only one thinking it?

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  • Cobra Kai says:

    They probably didn’t announce it because they hadn’t tied up the loose ends on the casino end. Imagine if they told the world Lorenzo was leaving his job at the casino chain and didn’t have a replacement and everything in place. Their investors would probably get pretty pissed off.

    So if this wasn’t the planned announcemenet why did they announce it? Do you really think that Dana was thinking “oh crap, I over hyped something on the Internet, Lorenzo will you quit your $118 million a year job and come work for the UFC so that I don’t look bad”? This was obviously something that was planned.

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  • woooburn says:

    reading these comments the last couple days, certainly lets you know who the pin-heads are around here.

    really anxious to see where lorenza’s involvement takes them. don’t really know much about the guy, so i’m interested to hear his insights (if any) about certain fights.

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  • Cobra Kai says:

    #24 you are right Trsigly. Thanks for the correction.

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  • Ross says:

    Cobra Kai–
    so you think the announcement Dana couldnt wait to tell everyone was that essentially he is failing and he needs one of the Ferrettas to further the develpment of the ufc. NO, I dont think so.
    I agree with SC- Dana assummed Ny would get passed, it didnt, Dana had to backtrack with this announcement. An announcement no casual fan gives a crap about.

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  • bjjdenver says:

    My guess was that the original announcement was a combination of Lorenzo and NY. As for Dana being in trouble, I seriously doubt it. He has had a big part in turning the UFC and for that matter mma, in a positive direction. What has he done bad? Fedor? just as much Fedor’s people as it was the UFC’s. Randy? I think that got a little blown out of proportion and was basically Randy looking for a fight with Fedor to end his career. Tito? meh, big deal. Using the F-bomb to much? I don’t care for it, but big F**cking deal, lol.

    I think this has more to do with the UFC growing more daily and it is just to big for one guy. Even Randy said, they need more people in the offices. And with UFC’s desire to dominate the entire Earth, they will need another powerful top guy.

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  • KS says:

    This fits the profile to a tee for why the UFC would rent out a place to make an announcement to their employees.

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  • cyph says:

    It doesn’t matter, Sam, what you think the original announcement was. The UFC deemed this is the announcement, hence, you were wrong. You need to accept it and move on.

    And besides, it makes no sense for the UFC to announce to their employees that NY has voted to put up a bill for a vote that needs to still pass the house, senate, and the governor, and the earliest that it would enact would be sometime in 2009.

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  • mma says:

    Sounds like the mob has got it’s hooks in Dana!

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  • Davey D says:

    I am sure Sam’s source is legit. I’m also sure the source is not the one who has the final saying as to wheter MMA becomes legal in the State of New York. Maybe they do but the big picture here is: Timing and it mean’s everything.

    Sam does a good job here. Let’s not bash him because MMA will become legal in NY soon (hopefully Michigan too) and Sam will then stand correct. Just not in a timing aspect that’s all.

    So, MMA doesn’t become legal in NY yet so Dana moves on to the next thing. Which happens to be this situation here. This announcement is huge, huge news for the UFC. They can now offically become a global enterprise with both Lorenzo and Dana at the helm every single day.

    I really liked the comments by Cobra Kai. Ross and bjjdenver made some really interesting points too. Well said Gentleman.

    Cheers!!!

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  • Cobra Kai says:

    #29

    This doesn’t mean that Dana is failing. It means that the UFC is growing. See my post above, #18.

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  • Mike Wolfe says:

    #31 KS is right. Changes in management are always a “big deal” regardless of whether they really are. Treating them as anything less could be insulting to the new manager and can cause speculation about present/previous manager. Announcements to the staff are usually part of the process to minimize anxiety and rumor-mongering. Whether the fans/bloggers perceive this as a “big deal” misses the point entirely.

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  • jaimie0678 says:

    dana white is a joke. Even if MMA was legalized in New York, it would not “blow people’s minds” what a tool

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  • Newport says:

    Maybe now we can get back to waiting on big fights instead of big announcements.

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  • Schwa says:

    It seems mind blowing to me.. . An owner is leaving a $113 million/year executive job to devote all their time to the UFC. This makes me believe they see serious promise and expansion possibilities in the sport, which could spell huge changes in the UFC and the future of MMA since they are the industry leader.

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  • Sam Caplan says:

    Well, I doubt he’s leaving $113 million on the table. He’s going to draw a salary from the UFC and I’m sure he’s still going to receive some sort of employee compensation from Station Casinos.

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  • Tanner says:

    Sam did you say in a previous post that your source was employed by the UFC/Zuffa? I’m not saying you did or didn’t but I thought i read that on a comment in the original post.

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  • Newport says:

    hey Sam, when can 5 Oz. get a forum board, then i wouldn’t have to go to Sherdog anymore.

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  • Sam Caplan says:

    Newport, our traffic is growing by leaps and bounds but still not where it needs to be to really support a forum. July looks to be a big month with a big UFC main event, the Affliction show, the Spike TV special, and another EliteXC show on CBS. I am anticipating another wave of growth and at that point Matt Cava and Adam Morgan and I might talk about the pros and cons of adding a forum to 5 Oz.

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  • JOHO says:

    iTS ABOUT TIME THAT THE OWNERS STEP UP AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT DANA ,THE GUY IS A GOOFBALL PUBLIC FIGHTS WITH FIGHTERS , REFUSING TO SIGN GUTS BECAUSE HE DONT LIKE THEM, LOSING AND/OR NOT GETTING BETTER FIGHTERS BECAUSE THEY DO NOT WANT TO DEAL WITH DANA.
    tHIS IS TYPICAL DANA THOUGHT HIS SHIT DIDNT STINK AND THOUGHT HE COULD DO AND SAY AS HE PLEASES
    OF COURSE THE OWNERS ARE NOT GOING TO FIRE HIM BUT DEMOTE HIM AND HE CAN PUT HIS SPIN ON IT LIKE HE PLANNED IT ALL
    i THINK THAT LORENZO TOOK A LOOK AT SOME OF THE PPV OF WHEN TITO WAS THERE ,AND THE MONEY THEY MADE AND STILL HAVE COULD MADE BUT DANAS HUGE EGO GOT IN THE WAY
    i AM SURE THERE IS WAY MORE BEHIND THIS THEN WE’LL EVER KNOW!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Kogepan says:

    Dana White: MORON

    Actually, I think it IS the biggest day in MMA, when the goofball running the biggest MMA org gets demoted for screwing things up. Now maybe fighters won’t get mistreated (Tito/arlovski etc) or maligned now that a REAL businessman is in charge.

    Seriously, this is bad news for all the other promotions. White is no businessman and he’s made some really stupid decisions. Maybe the UFC will finally run itself like a REAL business in the future, doing co-promotions and expanding the MMA base worldwide.

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  • Michaelthebox says:

    Why the fuck would they do co-promotions?

    If they run like a real business, they’d tell other promotions to go fuck themselves. Just like they’ve done so far.

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  • Mike Rome says:

    Nothing better than people who know nothing about business suggesting mind-numbingly stupid business moves while calling successful people stupid.

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  • Kogepan says:

    Yeh, installing a guy with ZERO experience in promoting fights/MMA is a REAL smart move. *golf clap*

    I always amazes me to see how UFC/Dana White nuthuggers react to different stories.

    -> NICK DIAZ is a DISGRACE to MMA and Humanity because he SWEARS and likes giving the double bird. Not to be confused with Dana White cursing people out or OPENLY rooting against a fighter on a card that he is promoting. Dana’s just expressing himself.

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  • Mike Rome says:

    Do you have any more straw men arguments to defeat? Surely they are putting Lorenzo completely in charge of promoting fights, and not in charge of business deals and expansion abroad. Dana will go on hiatus and take over UFC’s website.

    Get a grip.

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  • E says:

    Why do people rag on the sherdog forums?

    Some of the idiotic users comments on fiveouncesofpain are just as bad

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  • Newport says:

    I wasn’t intending to rag on Sherdog, i’ve been on the site since Paul Buentello KOed Justin Eillers, but the forum is no where as good as it used to be. It’s like the inmates are running the asylum there. But I’m sure as soon as 5 oz gets the traffic they target to support a forum, then all the reject who troll on Sherdog will try to drag down this site too.

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  • bDavid says:

    Hey message to Nick Diaz…there are ‘wars’ happening right now in Afghanistan and Iraq … this is mma fighting dude ..it is NOT war.. what do you think your american sisters and brothers serving in Iraq or Afghanistan would think of you calling an mma fight a ‘war’ . Give your head a shake start acting like a professional.. (and apologize to anyone serving their country)

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