UFC 257 was a highly anticipated event many had purchased before tonight. Many who paid $70 were expecting to see Conor McGregor fight for the first time in over a year as he would face off against Dustin Poirier in the main event. That may have been the plan but that plan was somewhat derailed thanks to a technical issue that prevented people from watching on ESPN+.

Many people flooded Twitter expressing their displeasure of not being able to watch the fight they paid for. @ESPNPlusHelp eventually acknowledged that there are some streaming issues but that was after many people had already shared throughout the night that they couldn’t watch. At 12:11 AM ET, it was announced that the problems were fixed, though some replied that they were still experiencing problems.

It wasn’t just ESPN+ having issues. People from around the world seemed to be in the same boat like those watching on Virgin Media and BT Sport in the UK. At least for those viewers they only needed to pay £20 ($27) but at the same time, they also had to stay up all night in order to watch the show.

What makes this situation especially bad is that ESPN+ is the exclusive place to legally watch UFC 257 in the United States. If there was a non-streaming option, people who have cable or satellite could’ve bought the PPV without the fear of having a streaming issue. Now, with just one streaming place to get the event, not only are viewers screwed when an issue happens but there isn’t much motivation for ESPN to improve things and ensure this doesn’t happen in the future because they’re the only (legal) game in town.

Even though Dana White was targeting illegal streamers earlier this week, this is a reason why some people watch illegal streams. Even under perfect streaming circumstances, the show itself is going to need to be good to make $70 for a UFC fight worth it. And that’s not a guarantee. McGregor could win in five seconds and…that’s that for those who paid to see that fight. And when there are streaming issues like this, it really diminishes the value for anyone to part with their money for a badly presented product or the possibility they pay and won’t be able to see future fights. I’d like to say something like this won’t happen again for a high demand event but don’t hold your breath. Streaming providers will always try to get by with the bare minimum and that’s not going to change.

[Photo: @JennuhhSnow]

About Phillip Bupp

News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing, highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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