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Is rising piracy hurting the UFC?

Dave Meltzer talks about piracy on the rise and what it means for the UFC:

“I don’t think that there’s one specific reason. I think that there’s probably about 10 different reasons. But the key ones… I think the increase in piracy is one of them. I think too many shows and the effects of… this last one, it’s two weeks between shows. That’s always going to be tough unless you got something incredible. Running a PPV two weeks after your last PPV, I mean we’ve seen it with pro-wrestling… it’s always been, you know, a major effect on it, that’s just too quick. And, you know, just… just so many shows, it’s hard to get people ‘up’ for so many shows. I think those are all factors and also, you know, the different champions as compared to last year.

“I have too many friends who started (streaming) in recent months. It’s picked up steam in recent months. How much? It’s impossible to say. I did a poll on my site and last year it was kind of like a 1:1 ratio and now it’s a 1:2 ratio in the sense of buying versus streaming. Now, it’s double the streaming versus the buying, that’s pretty significant.

“I think it’s also affecting boxing, too, because the one thing I’ve noticed… you notice they never did announce that Mayweather/Ortiz buy rate and the reason is obviously because I think they were embarrassed of it and, you know, Mayweather’s drawing… Mayweather hasn’t had a bad PPV number since he had the fight with Oscar De La Hoya four years ago and he doesn’t fight so often that it’s overexposure, either.”

It’s been a bad year for the UFC, no doubt. 2011 is set to have 15 PPV events, and thus far the only huge fights they had for so many shows was Anderson Silva vs Vitor Belfort and Georges St Pierre vs Jake Shields. Between too many shows, too little talent, and that pesky recession, they’ve done some damage to their bottom line. Add in the de facto price hike for HD, and it’s no surprise that  piracy is only growing as a problem. The number of streams for events is growing, and it’s getting easier for people to send those streams right out to their televisions.

Fortunately, the UFC seems to be paying attention and is dropping the number of PPV events down to 12, which should help not only with the timing issues and wallet fatigue, but weak cards as well. People don’t mind paying for UFC events, but I think there’s a certain quality level they expect that has been ignored over the past two years as non-title events have become way too regular.

  • Symbul

    So it’s all this Remico dude’s fault!

  • Nepal

    Dana, with his “you want a fight?” policy towards pirating didn’t help. He just advertised to the masses that sopcast and other pirating streams actually carried UFC PPV content.

    Dropping from 15 to 12 PPV/yr really doesn’t help because they have 4 FOX shows that will take some of the top headlining fights. So there is actually more shows now and not any more sellable headliners.

  • G Funk

    Rich men crying about not enough profits? meh…

  • Billytk

    I’d say that Dana/UFC greed played a big part in increasing piracy like was pointed out in the article there are simply too many events at way to high a price for people to pay for them all not to mention the weak cards they’ve been trying to portray as PPV quality.

    And I agree Dana’s free advertising for the streaming sites probably sent a ton of people in that direction.

  • CAP

    ^yep tx internetzz!!

  • iamphoenix

    2011 was the first year i ate at subway three times in one week.

  • theinsaneoneJustinMcCully

    get a bunch of beer and pizzas and people, blah blah blah

  • Reverend Clint

    if they lowered the price or had better shows i would pay. right now i can get a video game for the same price and end up at the very least having 3x entertainment value

  • iamphoenix

    lol at videogames.

    (coming from a retired videogame player. someone stole my enjoyment from playing them. dunno what happened)

  • glassjawsh

    ^ I stopped gaming once i realized i liked sticking my dick inside a real human vagina instead of getting lonely boners in front of the tv while playing Final Fantasy 7 or Parasite Eve at 4 in the morning

    edit: ok so i still have a crush on tifa from FF7 but I was 12 and look at that shit

  • iamphoenix


  • theinsaneoneJustinMcCully

    glassjawsh was gaming for

  • Krazytrain33

    The problem the UFC has with streaming is they are fighting it instead of making it work for them. Make advertisers pay for the stream. YouTube highlight videos could make big bucks even. They need to change with the times and technology. They can’t stop P2P, but they could offer a paid advertising alternative that would make the fans happy and the UFC money. I can deal with a few ads for a free show.

  • DJ ThunderElbows

    Can we ban KrazyTrain33 for polluting this convo with common fucking sense?  There’s no place for that shit here.

  • frickshun

    Not happening KrazyTrain. It’s all or nothing for Zuffa.

    Anyway, this is a flawed argument. Some anecdotal “evidence” has surfaced implying that piracy is on the rise. Could it be………that maybe as the fan base grows, piracy grows proportionately. HOLY SHIT!! SIMPLE LOGIC REDEFINED!! Why don’t you ask Dana how their profits look for 2011 before you decide that pirates have overtaken our fight ship. YARRRRRR.

  • malonth

    The piracy theory is pretty speculative. To me, the problem is too many cards and TOO FEW epic fights. If you’re counting Anderson Silva v. Belfort as one of your epic fights of the year, the UFC has a serious problem. Belfort was brought in because Silva has cleaned out the division. Belfort did nothing to earn that shot. I don’t like Koscheck or Fitch, but both would have beaten Belfort.

  • Keshabraj

    dude great point. GSPs trainers are only good for sklils and they don’t do shit to help him get over the loss to Serra. Now he just focuses on winning safely instead of realizing that his warrior spirit borught him into the sport in the first place. Or maybe he never had it, and just does it because he’s an athlete. I just find it rediculous that a fighting sport can be dominated by athletes instead of fighters. Nick Diaz is a fighter, GSP is just an athlete in a fighting sport

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