Ultimate Fighting Championship seemed for years to be a curio, a niche sport for those interested in seeing combatants pummel one another in an octagonal cage.
But U.F.C. has become a global sports empire — and now commands an eye-popping price tag.
The league, which promotes mixed martial arts, is expected to announce as soon as Monday that it has sold itself to a group led by the talent giant WME-IMG for about $4 billion, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter. Backing the deal are the private equity heavyweights Silver Lake, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and the investment firm of the billionaire Michael S. Dell.
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