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Midnight Mania! Unhappy UK fans being charged extra for UFC 239 PPV

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UFC 235 Jones v Smith Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

There is no sports organization more expensive to follow than Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). To keep up with every fight the promotion puts on, American audiences are expected to buy UFC Fight Pass ($9.99 per month), ESPN+ (4.99 per month), some type of cable package that includes ESPN (an expensive variable depending on the plan), and purchase the pay-per-view (PPV) events for $65 a pop, which occur roughly once every five weeks.

We’re talking upward of $1,000 each year.

Around the world, different audiences have different expenses, seemingly based on the wealth of the country and the general convenience of viewing the product. In the United Kingdom, for example, fans historically have been able to keep up with a majority of UFC content by paying for BT Sports, which costs $16 to $30 euros monthly depending on the package. Cheaper than in the United States to be sure, but PPV events don’t even start until 3 A.M., so it’s a fair enough trade.

Until now.

It’s easy to miss just from the Tweet itself, but the mention of “Box Office” means U.K. fans are expected to pay extra for the privilege of staying up until 6 a.m. local time. Naturally, there has been quite a bit of backlash. Check out the replies to the linked tweet, or this Reddit thread that encourages English fans to boycott and/or stream the event illegally.

It’s an odd move from UFC at an odd time. In general, the PPV model seems to be dying out around the world, as monthly subscriptions are proving more popular and profitable. Many assumed the ESPN+ shift was a signal in that direction. To muddy the waters further, UFC is light on stars right now — Conor McGregor is on the sidelines, which means there is no chance of breaking one million PPV buys or creating a truly mega event. Plus, while UFC 239 is decent, the title fights at the top of the card are very likely to be extremely one-sided.

Are there really enough English fans willing to pony up for a PPV at 3 a.m. to cover the seemingly larger number intent on canceling their BT Sport subscriptions? Even if it does prove profitable, is pissing off a bunch of customers really the best move?


I could write a much larger column on the warm up, fight itself, disastrous ER visit (four hours for handful of stitches???), and other assorted aftermath, but bottom line is Mania’s other Andrew fought damn well against a tough scrapper and earned the win. Follow that man, and forgive him if he looks a bit stiff in this week’s technique highlight videos: his feet and shins are banged up from landing a few dozen kicks. Whenever a video of the fight becomes available, it’ll be here!

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A post shared by BJJScout (@bjj_scout) on

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Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.

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