The UFC Chief Operating Officer believes that illegal streamers are hurting fighters financially.
For the years, the UFC has been fighting against piracy. All the way back in 2010, UFC President Dana White told the Vancouver Sun that he’ll fight tooth and nail to reduce the number of illegal streams.
“[Piracy] hasn’t cost us anything compared to what it’s going to cost us to go after these guys. It’s gonna cost us a lot of money, but guess what — it’s gonna cost them a lot of money. It’s gonna get to the point where it’s like, you know what, [expletive] it, maybe we shouldn’t pirate MMA anymore.
“You got these websites like Justin.tv, and they pirate all kinds of things. They play all kinds of [expletive] on there. Well, we’re gonna make it where it’s not worth it to put UFC events up on the website.”
Justin.TV has since turned into Twitch. That platform heavily focuses on gaming and IRL streams. It’s the most popular streaming website today and has cleaned up many of its previous issues with uploading copyright content.
As far as whether or not the UFC has reduced piracy since White’s comments in 2010, White claims that it has. Ahead of the UFC 264 PPV, the UFC boss told The Mac Life that a big wave of catching pirates would come.
“We just overcame a huge hurdle in the piracy world and we’re going to catch some of these guys in 2021 and I look forward to the crying and the begging. We’ll see how tough they are when they get caught. You can’t shut the whole thing down, that piracy industry is going to go on forever.
Let me catch a few and watch what happens — and I will, oh it’s coming.”
During an interview with Sportico, UFC COO Lawrence Epstein said that the illegal streaming of UFC events ends up hurting the paychecks of fighters (via Bloody Elbow).
“We love our fans and want more fans. We’re not trying to stop them from showing video of Conor [McGregor] or other fighters. We are going after the pirates . . . we are trying to stop illegal profiting and reselling of copyright material.
“Every buy that’s stolen is hurting [McGregor] and other fighters. This is not a victimless crime or one that just hurts the big corporation—it hurts the individual athletes . . . remember they have as short window [of life] to monetize their athletic abilities and skills.”
Do you agree with the UFC COO that illegal streamers are taking money out of the pockets of fighters?