A complete guide to MMA cord cutting
With YouTube recently announcing the launch of an over-the-top streaming television service at only $35 an month, it is becoming more apparent that satellite and cable television subscriptions are no longer a necessity for the sports viewer. In particular, fans of MMA already have relatively affordable access to view their favorite sport on various streaming platforms.
In case you are considering “cutting the cord” and maintaining your MMA fandom, here is a complete guide to the platforms that fans of the sport can utilize while telling their cable providers “bon voyage.”
Note: This is list is mostly applies to services available in the United States.
(All listed pricing is current as off 3/5/2017.)
The MMA catchalls
UFC Fight Pass: With or without linear television, UFC Fight Pass is essential for any MMA fan. With a vast on demand video library, exclusive preliminaries, original programming, and the occasional Fight Night card, the service is very UFC-centric. However, UFC Fight Pass subscribers also have access live fight cards from the following companies: Invicta FC, Pancrase, Victory FC, Titan FC, BRACE, Shooto Brazil, EFN, Cage Warriors, Shooto Japan, XFO, Vale Tudo Japan, Tech-KREP, AFC, The Eddie Bravo Invitational, and more.
Pricing depends on commitment; monthly subscribers have access for $9.99, a 6-month subscription costs $53.94, and a 12-month subscription will set you back for a total of $95.88
FloCombat: FloCombat offers access to an eclectic group of MMA events including: Fury FC, ONE FC, Valor Fights, RFO, NEF, Pinnacle FC, and much more. Additionally, FloCombat gives the subscriber the ability to access a wide variety traditional martial arts events.
Like UFC Fight Pass, the cost of FloCombat is dependent on the time commitment of the purchaser. A monthly subscription costs $20.00 while an annual subscription is set at $150.00.
The UFC being the biggest MMA promotion in the world, also makes it the most complicated to completely stream.
UFC pay-per-view: At standard pricing, UFC fans can watch UFC pay-per-views on an a la carte basis through UFC Fight Pass or through YouTube. This option is appealing not only to cord cutters, but cable and satellite subscribers who are traveling or simply do not want to inflate the price of their monthly television service.
FS1: FS1 is the de facto television home of the UFC. It is an essential piece of the UFC pie when you consider that FS1 features full length Fight Night cards, pay-per-view preliminaries and UFC studio shows.
Availability by pricing tier: Sling TV $25/monthly, DirectTV Now $35/monthly, PlayStation Vue $40/monthly (pricing varies by market). The upcoming YouTube TV will have FS1 at the $35 price point; and on Hulu’s upcoming streaming service at unspecified amount under $40 monthly.
FOX: “Big Fox” is currently the only broadcast channel to semi-regularly feature MMA events. The quarterly UFC specials on FOX are catered to the general audience of UFC fans. Obviously, FOX is always available via the theoretical “bunny ears.”
Availability by pricing tier: Sling TV $25/monthly, DirectTV Now $35/monthly (select markets). YouTube TV will have FOX at the $35 price point and on Hulu’s upcoming streaming service at unspecified amount under $40 monthly.
Locating a full serving of Bellator is much more streamlined (pun intended) than the UFC. Bellator fans simply need to find out if their provider features Spike or its soon to be new moniker, The Paramount Network.
Availability by pricing tier: Sling TV available as a $5 add on to either the $20 or $25 price point, DirectTV Now $35/monthly. Currently, Spike will not be part of YouTube TV, and it is not clear if the channel will be available on Hulu’s upcoming streaming service.
World Series of Fighting
To view the majority of WSOF events, look no further than the NBCSN channel. However, select events can occasionally be found on NBC, TSN 2, and the FITE.tv app.
Availability by pricing tier (NBCSN): Sling TV $25/monthly, DirectTV Now $50/monthly, and PlayStation Vue $40/monthly (pricing varies by market). YouTube TV will have NBCSN at the $35 price point, but Hulu’s upcoming streaming service has not yet struck a deal with NBCSN’s parent company NBC Universal.
A difference of opinions at the announcing table
Aside from a lackluster and controversial main event, UFC 209 will be remembered for the fight that did not happen. The scheduled bout for the interim UFC Lightweight Championship between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson was called off the day before the event due to a weight cutting issue with Nurmagomedov.
Throughout the UFC 209 broadcast, longtime UFC commentator Joe Rogan and UFC bantamweight/color commentator Dominick Cruz addressed the issue of weight cutting from very different perspectives.
Rogan has long been a proponent of reforming weight cutting in MMA. Rogan reiterated his thoughts throughout the broadcast. Conversely, Cruz has very little sympathy for Nurmagomedov, citing the lack of professionalism that fighters who do not make weight display.
While the exchanges never seemed to be contentious, neither man was backing off of their position. Rogan did, however, have the final word on the matter when he quipped, “Hopefully Khabib can take some lessons on how to cut weight from Dominick Cruz.” While clearly made in jest, it was a highlight from a well-received broadcast.
In the post-Mike Goldberg era, it is refreshing to hear a multitude of viewpoints presented with reasoned arguments on a UFC broadcast. Rogan and Cruz have excellent chemistry; the UFC might have something special with the duo.
(Robert Vallejos writes a new Specialist column for MMATorch titled “Media & Business” focused on, you guessed it, the media coverage of MMA and the business side of MMA. He is fascinated by the presentation, business decisions, media strategy, and press coverage of both UFC and MMA as a whole, and will bring that curiosity to explore and delve into that side of MMA to his weekly Specialist column here at MMATorch. He explains his approach: “As a sport in its relative infancy, MMA does not receive the same level of scrutiny and informed analysis from the sports media as other more established entities. This is why it is vital for independent outlets such MMATorch to grow, while featuring a variety of voices. Unlike mainstream outlets, MMATorch is not beholden to any organization. Therefore I believe it is essential for individuals such as myself to explain not only the ‘what’ but also the ‘why’ of MMA.”)