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MMA organization puts beat down on pirates

In a piracy-related case away from the music and movie industries, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has agreed to "confidential settlements" with businesses and people accused of illegally broadcasting UFC events.

Zuffa, which runs the UFC and World Extreme Cagefighting as subsidiaries, announced plans to sue individual file sharers in January.  At least one dozen pay-per-view events take place in the UFC, with $44.95 PPV costs ($55.95 for HD).  The UFC saw an estimated $349 million in PPV revenue in 2009, despite the existence of illegal streams on the Internet.

UFC also streams PPVs on its own site (UFC.com), Yahoo! Sports, and at least one well known site that also charge $44.95.  

UFC President Dana White, who is known for being brash, outspoken (and misleading), said piracy will stop when people start going to jail.  However, airing full events on Spike during Strikeforce events is a great idea, with MMA fans able to watch recent fights for free.

Sorry Dana -- the UFC's settlement with 500 businesses and individuals won't stop online streams of UFC events any time soon.  The restaurants won't show UFC events without signing any checks, but that doesn't mean piracy will suddenly stop.

A few restaurants in my area used to show UFC PPVs without charging a cover fee, but mysteriously stopped when the UFC's anti-piracy campaign started.  It's a shame because of the number of people who had a great time watching it with other fans -- many of the people came simply to watch it with such a large number of other MMA fans.




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