UFC outspends MLB and NBA lobbying Capitol Hill in fight against online video piracy

Michael Cohen

Scurvy pirates continue to illegally stream UFC pay-per-view events, which is why ZUFFA continues to lobby Capitol Hill in an effort to stop them. And that kind of advocacy doesn't come cheap!

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has a sweet television broadcast deal with FOX, but don't expect them to forget where they came from.

Pay-per-view (PPV) buys are what pays the bills.

That's why the ZUFFA legal eagles are flying over Capitol Hill, where they continue their "aggressive advocacy" for online video piracy, already spending $80,000 on federal lobbying in the first quarter of 2013, according to a new report from The Center of Public Integrity.

The company still relies on pay-per-view broadcasts for much of its revenue. When bootleggers surreptitiously film and post fights to the internet for free, UFC loses money, according to Makan Delrahim, an attorney at the Washington office of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Scheck who represents UFC.

"Or even worse, [copyright law violators] are charging $9.99," for access to the illegally-captured fights, Delrahim said. "My clients are deprived of the economic benefit that intellectual property laws allow."

UFC ($620,000) outspent Major League Baseball ($310,000) and the National Basketball Association ($125,000) last year, according to the report.

Online piracy has been a hot button issue in recent months thanks to the flawed anti-piracy bill SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), which caused a public outcry for digital freedom and prompted a few well-documented attacks from vengeful hackers.

Since day one, UFC has been a staunch supporter of SOPA and promotion CEO Lorenzo Fertitta even sent a letter to Congress outlining the damage illegal video streams have inflicted on ZUFFA's bottom line.

They also sued Justin.tv and Ustream (and lost).

In the aftermath, hackers took control of the UFC.com website on two separate occasions and released personal information on promotion president Dana White, which later turned out to be a case of mistaken identity.

Oops.

Can't we all just get along?

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