The UFC is making some significant changes. Starting next month at UFC 236, ESPN+ will be the only platform to buy UFC PPV events. This comes just ten months after ESPN secured a five-year contract for the television rights to UFC events.
It appears the relationship between these two companies is going well. Let’s take a quick look at what this will mean for MMA fans.
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Why is ESPN+ the Only Place to Buy UFC PPV Events Now?
As we just mentioned, the UFC signed a deal with ESPN for television rights back in May of 2018. It was a monumental move for the promotion, as ESPN is without a doubt the largest sports network in the world. A number of events are airing on the official ESPN channel, and others are available on the subscription-based streaming platform, ESPN+.
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The first UFC event on ESPN+ brought in a record-setting 568,000 new subscribers.
The only UFC events that air without the support of ESPN are PPV events. In the past, these shows were available for purchase through television providers. Now, fans will need to subscribe to ESPN+ in order to buy PPV’s.
Some fans are already voicing their concerns. ESPN+ being the only platform to buy UFC PPV events is a little inconvenient, yet UFC officials are working to make it affordable. This streaming service costs $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year.
PPV events will now cost $59.99.
This move is sure to bring in more subscribers to ESPN+. The sports network pays the UFC a “licensing fee” for the right to sell Pay-Per-Views. The UFC also earns a percentage on each PPV event sold.
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Money talks, and this move should earn both companies some major revenue.
Dana White Signs Another 7-Year Deal with the UFC
UFC President Dana White has been instrumental in the sport of MMA gaining the exposure and success it enjoys today. Some thought White would retire after the UFC was sold to WME-IMG back in 2017 for more than $4 billion. Based on new reports, the brash head of the Ultimate Fighting Championship isn’t going anywhere soon.
In an exclusive interview with Megan Olivi, Dana White announced he’s signed another 7-year deal as president of the company. Love him or hate him, Dana White has proven he can continue to steer the UFC in the right direction.
“Nobody believes in this business more than I do,” White said. “It’s not about money, it’s not about any of that stuff. I don’t care about any of that stuff. I like to win and I like to take this thing to the next level, the next level, the next level. And it’s what we’ve done and it’s what we’re gonna continue to do.”
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ESPN+ PPV Events Will Begin at UFC 236
The ESPN+ platform will officially be the only place to buy UFC PPV events starting at UFC 236 taking place on April 13th. The card, taking place in Atlanta, Georgia is featuring two title fights. In the co-main event, Isreal Adesanya takes on Kelvin Gastelum for the interim Middleweight title, while the main event pits longtime contender Dustin Poirier against current featherweight champ Max Holloway for the interim lightweight belt.
Fans are already heading to different online sportsbooks in the US to place their bets on the outcome. At the moment, Bovada Sportsbook lists Adesanya as the favorite against Gastelum. He’s undefeated in MMA with a 16-0 record. Adesanya is without a doubt one of the most versatile strikers in the sport, showcased specifically in his last fight against the legendary Anderson Silva.
Adesanya’s odds to win are currently set at -230.
Gastelum is no pushover, though. He won the Ultimate Fighter back in 2013. His most recent performance was a victory over fellow contender Ronaldo “Jacare Souza.” Kelvin is slightly undersized in the middleweight division, yet his combination of wrestling and pinpoint boxing has earned him this title shot.
Bovada lists Gastelum’s odds to win the co-main event at +180.
Dustin Poirier has always been a top-five fighter, yet he tends to fall short in the big fights that matter most. He’s finally earned a shot a title shot (albeit an interim title) after racking up three straight wins, two of which came against former UFC lightweight champions. Dustin beat Holloway back in 2012, yet the oddsmakers list him as an underdog in this one with odds of +215.
Max Holloway is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport right now. He’s the current 145 pound champion with two title defenses. His most recent performance against Brian Ortega was arguably the most impressive of his career.
Holloway’s going to be tough to beat right now and is rightfully listed as the betting favorite here with current odds of -275.
ESPN+ is the only place to buy UFC PPV events starting with UFC 236. Do you think this will be a good thing for the sport? How will this affect fighter pay?
Let us know what you think in the comment section below!