Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) recently took its entire pay-per-view (PPV) business and gave it to ESPN+, the online digital streaming platform that costs fans $4.99 per month. So, if you want to watch UFC 236 next month to find out if Dustin Poirier can defeat Max Holloway for the interim lightweight title, you’ll need a seven-day free trial to get started, or an existing ESPN+ subscription.
That’s all well and good for those folks living in most metropolitan areas, or UFC fans who have the luxury of unlimited data plans, but for some parts of the country, high-speed Internet can still be a challenge. Just ask “The Diamond,” who will no longer be seen by some of his kin back in Louisiana because of the change in PPV distributors. The days of calling up the cable or satellite company to order UFC fights appear to be long gone.
“I guess time will tell,” Poirier told MMA Junkie about the move to ESPN+. “Any kinks they have, any problems they have, they’ll fix them because they want to make as much money as possible. So whatever problems come up they’re going to get it fixed. But for me I can see problems like with people in Louisiana, like my father-in-law. These guys don’t have smart TVs and stuff like that. They’re not buying the app and signing up for ESPN+. It’s complicated for them. I don’t know what they’re going to do, but I’m sure they’ll figure it out.”
Folks, I’ve been to Louisiana and have very dear friends from that side of the culture warp, I can assure you that “not smart” applies to more than just televisions (fight me). To be fair, most of my family lives in Maine, and their idea of “streaming” is when my cousin Cooter takes a leak off the back porch to scare the critters away.
Chiselers and otherwise jaded fans will continue to illegally stream the PPV events online, but for those of us who are actually gullible enough to pay for things we can easily steal, signing up for ESPN+ is a huge pain in the ass and an unwelcome charge in the wake of existing memberships to Netflix and Hulu, among others.