The bottom line: UFC PPV, at $79.99 per event plus a $9.99 per month ESPN Plus subscription, is pricing some fans out of the market. By simply waiting 16 days for the fights to re-air on Hulu + Live TV or ESPN Plus, the cost of watching UFC goes down by about $1,000 each year.
Watch UFC PPV events on ESPN+ live as well as re-airings of numbered events.
$9.99 / month
|Sign Up for ESPN+|
$69.99 / month
|Sign Up for Hulu|
I am a huge UFC fan.
As a general rule, I don’t miss a UFC event, and prefer to watch the UFC PPV shows on the night they air so I can follow along on Twitter.
However, the UFC has announced increased prices on its PPV fights from $74.99 to $79.99 starting.
UFC 270, with its much hyped heavyweight matchup between Frances Ngannou and Ciryl Gane, is sure to be a draw, but will fans pay $75 to stream the fight?
In order to buy a UFC PPV event, MMA fans are also required to subscribe to ESPN Plus, which costs an additional $6.99 per month.
The UFC does offer a ESPN Plus + PPV option, which includes an annual ESPN Plus membership and one UFC PPV event, and that price is going up as well, from $89.98 to $99.98.
All in, UFC fans who want to keep up with every one of the promotion’s events will be shelling out in excess of $1,200 per year to watch MMA. That’s more than some people’s annual car payment.
Some fans will refuse to pay more for UFC PPV
The UFC has been a popular draw for ESPN, which is why you’re seeing price increases – many fans will pay more to watch the fights.
However, among my friends, there are already a number of us who pass on the UFC because the cost of PPV seems like a lot of money to pay for an event that you watch at home on the couch.
Add to that the fact that an ESPN Plus subscription is required to access any UFC content, both Fight Nights and PPV, and there will be some MMA fans who draw the line at this latest $5 price increase. Some dedicated MMA fans would pay more if it meant a bigger cut for fighters, who are underpaid relative to the long term health risks they take by stepping into the Octagon. However, there is no plan in place to allocate the increase in PPV revenue to the UFC’s roster of fighters.
Why aren’t the fighters getting paid more?
Ariel Helwani, one of the best known MMA journalists, didn’t pull any punches when commenting on the UFC PPV price increase. Via his Twitter account, Helwani asked the question that is on the minds of lots of MMA fans (including myself): why aren’t the fighters being paid more?
Frankly, they should be getting a bigger piece of the pie.
Watching UFC PPV on Hulu
Hulu and ESPN Plus are both owned by Disney, and Hulu offers packages that integrate ESPN Plus into a user’s Hulu subscription.
Hulu announced last year that MMA fans, who are subscribed top Hulu and ESPN Plus, could purchase the UFC PPV events directly from the Hulu app.
The Hulu & ESPN Plus is great for the overall user experience on the Hulu app. Without it, users would have to toggle back and forth between the ESPN and Hulu apps to watch programming they’d subscribed to.
How to watch UFC PPV on the cheap
I mention Hulu and ESPN Plus for a specific reason – both streaming services re-air UFC PPV events 2 days after they air live.
One of my good friends, who also has young kids, often waits to watch UFC events when family obligations conflict with the UFC. We agree not to text each other about the fights so as not to spoil the outcome. As an added bonus, it’s tough to sleep after many UFC events, and waiting to watch when it’s best for you can help maintaining a sleep schedule.
If your family wants access to a live TV streaming service, you have the option of subscribing to Hulu and ESPN Plus for $69.99 per month, and simply waiting 2 days to watch the UFC PPV, when it airs for all Hulu and ESPN Plus subscribers.
For an even cheaper option, subscribe to ESPN Plus alone for $6.99 per month. This will get you access to all UFC Fight Nights, The Ultimate Fighter, and UFC PPV events when they re-air 2 days after the original live event.
If the new $74.99 PPV price tag is too steep, but you love the UFC, it might be worth it to tune out post fight coverage to avoid spoilers and simply wait a couple days to watch the latest UFC event for no additional charge.
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