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ESPN vs. Reddit: Highlight Takedowns, Streaming and Paywalls

The sport of MMA was once on it’s deathbed until it was saved by The Internet. Now in the year of our fight lord 2019, ESPN and Reddit are are at each other’s throats due to internet freedoms.

A strange, perhaps unforeseen, aftershock of UFC’s deal with ESPN is a sport kept alive by The Internet, now wants nothing to do with the world wide web. First came Reebok, then came USADA, and now the UFC’s deal with ESPN+ is next step of evolution for the world’s biggest MMA promotion.

Who would have thought all this could go so wrong; except everyone who even paid a little bit of attention. The first casualties on the UFC’s trip towards mainstream acceptance and even more money for their owners, was always their fans and fighters.

It just had to be this way.

UFC is no longer the scrappy little engine that could, competing against the big bad worlds of boxing, the NFL, NBA, or MLB. The UFC is a $4 billion dollar well oiled machine, with no intentions of stunting it’s growth.

Last week word of Brendan Schaub unknowingly selling out an entire community of fans came to light. This week, Reddit’s biggest MMA community wrote an open letter to ESPN and by proxy, the UFC. ESPN sent their eight armed bots and completely wiped highlights from /r/MMA over the weekend.


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