Hey, remember back in February when DirecTV tried to strong-arm Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White over the cost of mixed martial arts (MMA) pay-per-view (PPV) events?
In my best Colonel Yin voice: YOU. LOSE.
The promotion today announced a new deal with ESPN that will take all upcoming PPV events and put them on the ESPN+ streaming service, so if you want to catch the big-name fight cards, you’ll have to go digital.
That includes UFC 236 on April 13 in Atlanta.
And if you’re thinking, “Wow, just five bucks a month for everything,” kind of like the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Network that streams the whole enchilada for a measly $10 every four weeks, let me be the first to disappoint you.
You still have to buy them at $59.99 on top of your monthly subscription (get a free trial here).
New ESPN+ subscribers will get one-year of ESPN+ and a UFC PPV event for $79.99; while existing ESPN+ subscribers will be able to purchase UFC PPV events for $59.99 per event, according to today’s release. ESPN+ also plans to explore other potential packaging options in the months ahead.
“Today’s announcement further establishes the strength of the partnership between UFC and ESPN,” White said. “Now our fans will be able to watch all UFC events exclusively on ESPN platforms, including ESPN+, which is an innovative way to deliver fights to our young fan base. I couldn’t be more excited to work with ESPN for the next seven years. Together we’re going to do amazing things to help grow this sport.”
ESPN and ESPN+ will continue to air the UFC “Prelims” and “Fight Night” events.
Commercial establishments will retain the rights to PPV purchases outside the ESPN+ platform, so if you and your buddies typically go to Buffalo Wild Wings or some other watering hole to watch the fights, that is expected to remain unchanged.
The seven-year PPV deal ends in 2025.