MMA Mathematics: The Rising Cost for Fight Fans and the Fragmentation Issue

It is becoming very expensive to be a fight fan. With all the new streaming services, UFC and it’s stubbornness on the Pay-Per-View issue, and so much more, being a hard core fight fan is becoming more and more of a struggle on your wallet. 

Enter Twitter user Jed I. Goodman. Goodman Tweets out numbers for various stats for TV shows, box office, and our favorite sport, MMA. He tweeted out that it would be expensive to be an MMA fan over the next couple weeks. Here is the tweet itself:

$64.99 on PPV

$400 is a lot of money, and fragmentation is to blame. More on that and the solution later. First, let’s dive into the numbers and break it down. 

  • Liddell-Ortiz – $49.99 ($29.99 on FITE)
  • Wilder-Fury – est. $74.95
  • UFC 231 PPV – $54.99 ($64.99 HD)
  • UFC 232 PPV – $54.99 ($64.99 HD)
  • RIZIN 14 PPV – $19.99
  • Pacquiao-Broner – est. $49.99
  • UFC 233 – $54.99 ($64.99 HD)

We’re up to $389.89 but if you settle for standard definition and deal hunt you can squeak by paying $329.89. 

As the late, great Billy Mays said: “But wait, there’s more!”

Now we have the various subscriptions we have to have, right? There is DAZN for Bellator and boxing events, there is also ESPN+ for boxing and UFC events starting in January of 2019. Oh, and Fight Pass to get our Cage Warriors and Invicta on as well. Let’s just throw cable in here too because we had to pay to get FS1 and ESPN. Don’t forget our boys at FloCombat. We need wrestling, jits and other promotions. Here’s the subscription breakdown:

  • DAZN – $9.99
  • ESPN+ – $4.99
  • Fight Pass – $9.99
  • FloCombat – $29.99 a month or $12.99 paid yearly 
  • Cable – $45 (average)

Boom, $99.96 more for fights. Low end would be $82.96 but we’re going extreme here. We HAVE to see all our fights, don’t we? 

Let’s do some calculations for our grand total, now. 

$412.85-$489.85. Holy shit. 

The low end is if you are Johnny Casual and don’t buy all high definition. But you’re not Johnny Casual and you need these fights in all the HD glory, bro. 

All this shows is another example of what’s not only plaguing fight fans, but a problem in the entertainment industry as a whole. Fragmentation. 

In January of 2007, Netflix, a DVD-to-door company, made an announcement that would change the world. Netflix brought digital streaming to the main stream (pun intended). This changed how the world consumed media, put companies like Blockbuster out of business, and spawned other new businesses like Dollar Shave Club and LootBox. The streaming service era of entertainment had begun. 

Then came the issue at hand, fragmentation. Many Netflix clones came to light with their own spin on things. Hulu, Amazon Video, Crackle, FreeForm all boast their own benefits. Now all of our favorite didn’t go to our streaming service of choice, but whoever paid the most.  We have to have a million subscriptions making the cut from expensive cable pointless. Now we’re paying more. 

The solution?

“History is bound to repeat itself.” 

More so in the early days, Netflix curbed the piracy of movies and TV shows. Why steal when you pay $9.99 and have them all at your fingertips?

The effect was magnified in the music industry. Instead of buying individual songs, you just pay Apple or Spotify $10 and you have every song. The music industry provides the best business model for the fight industry. 

You don’t have Virgin Records streaming and Sony Music streaming services. All of their music is distributed to Apple, Spotify and whoever else to have it all in one place. Fragmentation is at a minimum. For fight fans, you have all these promotions in different spots. There are a few companies that are insistent on keeping pay per views around, which is the equivalent of going to the store and buying a DVD. 

There needs to be a distributor of fights all in one spot, not in 6 different spots. Companies also need to let go of ancient and out of date business practices that aren’t beneficial to the consumer. We need unification. 

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