The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s first pay-per-view of 2021 was not without some issues.
Early on in the pay-per-view broadcast, many ESPN+ subscribers who had purchased UFC 257 — including many professional fighters — experienced difficulty getting the streaming service to work properly.
Ultimately, those issues were resolved and viewers were able to witness Dustin Poirier defeat Conor McGregor via second-round technical knockout in Saturday’s main event at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. And as with most McGregor events, it appears to have been big business.
“It was mostly on the West Coast. The West Coast had some problems,” White said of the troubles with the ESPN+ stream. “But they got it fixed and it was a good night. It was a really good night. One of the Top 2 all-time.
“It’s either No. 2 or No. 3 all-time.”
McGregor’s loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in October 2018 reportedly sold in the neighborhood of 2.4 million pay-per-views, making it the promotion’s biggest event ever. At least four other UFC cards featuring the Irish star are believed to have done more than 1 million buys. The UFC does not officially release pay-per-view figures to the public, however.
The ESPN+ issues received even more scrutiny than usual after the price of pay-per-views was raised from $64.99 to $69.99 to begin the year. Additionally, White vowed to crack down on those who stream the UFC’s premium cards illegally leading up to Saturday’s event. According to the UFC boss, that venture proved to be successful.
“I told you guys that we found the guy and we were watching him. He put out a statement that night and said ‘I will not be streaming the McGregor vs. Poirier [fight] anymore, but I will show you how to buy it legally,” White said. “Now his whole streaming service has been deleted and is gone, disappeared.
“One down and a s—tload to go. Every event I’m gonna go after one of these guys — or more, we’ll see. Whoever you are guy that did this, good move. We had you, pal. All you had to do was pop up that stream and you were in big trouble.”