Home » How To Watch UFC Fights: Pay-Per-View And Streaming Costs

How To Watch UFC Fights: Pay-Per-View And Streaming Costs

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Like most sports, UFC is a made-for-television experience. While each fight takes place in front of a live crowd, tickets are usually incredibly expensive, which means that a majority of fans who want to take in a UFC fight have to do so via a live broadcast.

And what a broadcast it is.

UFC is almost always broadcast via a pay-per-view stream, meaning you have to pay to get access to most of the fights. This is different from traditional sporting events like March Madness or the Super Bowl, which are almost always broadcast on over-the-air cable that’s free to anyone with an antenna.

While needing to pay for each fight can sound like a huge expense, most fight fans split the cost with a group of friends and watch together, lowering the cost and creating a communal viewing experience.

Here’s a guide on how to watch UFC.

How Do I Watch UFC Fights?

In 2018, UFC struck a landmark deal with ESPN to make ESPN+ the exclusive home of every UFC fight, becoming the first major North American sports league to transition away from the linear cable model in favor of 100% streaming.

Prior to 2018, UFC fights were available on traditional cable providers like Comcast and DirecTV. Some fights were also available on UFC.TV and Amazon Prime Video.

UFC’s contract with ESPN runs through 2025 and is worth $1.5 billion.

How Much Do UFC Fights Cost?

As mentioned above, you need an ESPN+ subscription to watch any UFC fight.

A basic ESPN+ subscription costs $10.99 a month (or $109.99 a year if you pay for it all upfront). You can also get ESPN+ as a part of the Hulu + Live TV/ESPN+ bundle. Along with having ESPN+, this bundle offers 95 channels, including CBS, TBS, TNT, truTV, ABC and ESPN.

This bundle, which also comes with Disney+, costs $76.99 per month with ads and $89.99 without ads.

Even if you get an ESPN+ subscription, you still have to pay for certain UFC events, which cost $79.99 each. An ESPN+ subscription does get you free access to UFC Fight Nights, but you’ll need to pay to access each numbered event like UFC 300.

ESPN+ also offers the ESPN+ PPV Package, which is perfect for UFC fans. This bundle includes an ESPN+ subscription along with one free UFC pay-per-view event. It’s billed annually and costs $134.98.

Once you redeem your free event, you’ll need to pay for the rest of UFC events like normal.

What Channel Are UFC Fights On?

UFC fights are only available on ESPN+ and don’t air on any traditional cable channels.

While UFC has been a pay-per-view sport since its inception (UFC 1 cost $14.95 for PPV), there have been some exceptions. In 2010, Versus (which has since rebranded as NBC Sports Network) aired a fight between Jon Jones and Brandon Vera, marking the first time a UFC fight aired on a national sports cable network (fights had only previously aired on Spike TV).

In 2011, UFC struck a multi-year deal with FOX. This allowed all of UFC’s original programming to air on FOX’s various TV channels, while a select number of fights aired on FOX. For those fights, the main card aired on FOX while the undercard aired live on Facebook.

After seven years with FOX, UFC partnered with ESPN, which is why fights are now only available on ESPN+.

Is There a Way to Watch UFC Fights For Free?

There is no legal way to watch UFC fights for free, as ESPN+ doesn’t offer a free trial. The closest thing you can get to a free fight is the monthly Fight Nights, which feature lower-tier fighters and only require an ESPN+ subscription to watch.

There hasn’t been a UFC fight broadcast over traditional cable since FOX aired a light heavyweight bout between Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Johnson in 2015.

One way to save money on a fight is to split the cost between friends and watch it together, whether in person or online. Some sports bars also air UFC fights, though they might have a small cover charge at the door to offset the cost.

Additionally, many casinos and retail sportsbooks have the option to watch fights for free.

How to Bet on UFC

Most UFC betting sites offer basic moneyline and total bets on UFC, which allow you to pick a fighter to win and predict how many rounds you think the fight will go.

But DraftKings is a bit unique in that it offers spread betting on UFC fights. While UFC doesn’t have a tangible scoreboard like in other sports, bettors can still wager on spreads.

If a fight goes to a decision, the judges determine the winner using their scorecards. Based on those points, a sportsbook determines the winner on the spread.

Each judge picks a “winner” of the round (which gives that fighter 10 points) and decides whether the “loser” of the round gets 7, 8 or 9 points.

At the end of the fight, the judges add up their scorecards to get a total score, i.e., 30-27 in a three-round fight and 50-45 in a five-rounder.

This is a fun way to add some variety to your UFC betting, as it requires a less binary result than a fighter simply winning or losing.

How to Bet UFC Props

DraftKings also offers UFC prop bets, which allow you to bet on a fight without having to wager on the final result.

Some popular UFC prop bets include:

  • Go the distance: Betting Yes/No on whether or not a fight will end early. Each round is five minutes long, and main event fights go five rounds (the rest are three).
  • Time props: Betting that the fight will end within a specific timeframe. The more precise the bet, the higher the odds.
  • Round props: Betting on which round the fight will end. For undercard fights, there are three rounds to bet on. For main event fights, there are five rounds to bet on.
  • Method of victory: Betting on how the fight will end, via knockout, submission or judge’s decision. You can easily parlay this prop with a moneyline bet, i.e., betting on Fighter A to win via submission.

Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much does a UFC PPV cost?

A UFC PPV costs $79.99, but you’ll also need an ESPN+ subscription, which costs $10.99 per month. While you can get an ESPN+ bundle that costs $134.98 a year and comes with one free PPV event, you’ll still need to pay for additional UFC events.

As mentioned above, an ESPN+ subscription is required to watch any UFC fight. A basic ESPN+ subscription costs $10.99 a month, or $109.99 a year if you pay for it all at once.

You can also get ESPN+ as a part of the Hulu + Live TV/ESPN+ bundle. This bundle includes 95 channels along with ESPN+ and Disney+. It costs $76.99 per month with ads, while the ad-free version costs $89.99.

Once you get an ESPN+ subscription, you still have to pay for certain UFC events, which cost $79.99 each. An ESPN+ subscription provides free access to UFC Fight Nights, but numbered events like UFC 300 cost extra.

How much does ESPN+ cost?

ESPN+ costs $10.99 for a monthly subscription and $109.99 for an annual subscription. You can also buy a bundle that comes with Hulu, ESPN+, Disney+ and live TV for $76.99 a month with ads or $89.99 without ads.

There’s also the aforementioned PPV bundle that costs $134.98 a year and includes a free fight.

Can I watch UFC without ESPN?

No. You need an ESPN+ subscription to watch UFC.

Before UFC merged with ESPN+, fights could be watched over linear cable, but now they’re only available via streaming.

Which streaming app has UFC?

UFC is available on ESPN’s streaming app, which is available on all smart devices and smart TVs. The app is free to download, but to watch UFC fights you’ll need to sign into your ESPN account and subscribe to ESPN+.

A subscription also gives you access to ESPN+’s streaming library and other live sports.

Can I Watch UFC on YouTube?

No, you can’t watch UFC on YouTube. The only way to watch UFC is on ESPN+. As of now, there’s no way to bundle YouTube with ESPN+.

Is UFC on Amazon Prime?

No, UFC isn’t on Amazon Prime. You can only watch UFC on ESPN+, which can’t be bundled with Amazon Prime.

Can I watch UFC on Netflix?

No. While Netflix has moved into the sports streaming space with events like Jake Paul’s fight against Mike Tyson, UFC fights are only available to stream on ESPN+.