Another illegal streamer got away on fight night at UFC 258, continuing the game of cat and mouse Dana White plays with internet pirates.
White laid a trap for a particularly vocal streamer who’d promised to pirate UFC 257, only to go dark when the pay-per-view event went life this past month. More affected were legal buyers on the West Coast whose feeds were frozen for the first two bouts of the main card, prompting broadcast partner ESPN+ to promise partial refunds.
On Saturday, White tried again to catch an illegal streamer into the act. But again, the intended target didn’t take the bait.
“Not a lot of them were streaming tonight,” White reported at the UFC 258 press conference. “We were going to go after one of the big ones tonight, and they did not stream tonight. So we’ll keep doing what we’re doing.”
White claimed that authorities were working with the UFC to catch thieves in the act. After vowing to make examples of internet pirates, one stepped forward to declare that UFC 257 would be streamed illegally. The promotion’s threats apparently were enough of a deterrent, as White said the streamer released a statement instructing fans on how to legally buy the event.
UFC 257 marked the first event under the new pay-per-view price tag of $69.99, the second price increase since the promotion partnered with ESPN+. The announcement drew howls of protest from fans and observers online.
White said after UFC 257 that he would continue to target a particular streamer and shut down sites that offer the promotion’s content for free. So far, he appears to be following through on that promise. Just how successful the deterrent is anyone’s guess.