LAS VEGAS – UFC president Dana White isn’t thrilled fight fans are being asked to pay more money to watch his promotion’s biggest events.
Beginning with Saturday’s UFC 270 card, the price of UFC pay-per-view events in the United States, Canada, Australia and other countries that require purchase for numbered shows is set to go up. The fee for fans in the U.S. will increase from $69.99 to $74.99, and the announcement this past week largely was met with a frustrated reaction.
Although critics have gone after White and the UFC for trying to gouge more money out of the fans, the decision, according to White, was one made by broadcast partner and pay-per-view carrier ESPN. The company raised prices by $5 roughly one year ago, and White admitted he wasn’t keen on it happening again.
“We don’t have any say in that,” White told MMA Junkie post-fight at Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 32 in Las Vegas. “We gave the pay-per-views to ESPN, so yeah, that’s their decision. You know how I feel about that stuff. I don’t love when prices get raised, but it’s not my decision. It’s theirs.”
Not long after the UFC signed its broadcast deal with ESPN to begin in January 2019, a shift was made from hosting pay-per-view on traditional satellite and cable carriers to putting them exclusively behind a paywall on ESPN+.
According to White, that change placed the power in the hands of the ESPN brass, and the shot-callers have since opted to boost prices on multiple occasions.