Friday, April 6, 2018

UFC Pay-Per-View Outages during August’s Boxing Match (2017)


Fans that had paid to watch the fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor on Saturday the 26th of August 2017were left outraged when a delay was announced because of the UFC’s pay-per-view (PPV) outages in different states within America. According to Menezes (2017), news broke out, and it was confirmed that due to high demands for the fight, there were scattered outages from different cable and satellite providers, as well as online offering. There were genuine fears that people at home could miss the most awaited sporting event of the year despite having paid $100 to buy the fight. Following the outages, the start of the main game was delayed slightly to allow the systems to get on track and prevent fans at home from missing out on the fight. After some time servers were back, and fans were able to view the match (Menezes, 2017). At first, fans that had paid to watch the event at home and online were enraged and feared that they might not watch the fight, but they were later pleased by UFC’s move to delay the match until the systems were back. However, the decision to delay the sport infuriated fans at the main event that had paid and arrived early to watch live. 
McGregor vs Floyd Mayweather fighting on Aug, 26, 2017

According to Gift (2018), the much advertised fight between Mayweather and McGregor recorded 4.3 million pay-per-view buys in North America. Gift (2018) claims “the PPV buys of the matchup was just 300,000 behind Mayweather-Pacquiao’s 2015 record-setting mark of 4.6 million” (p.1). The purchases included traditional television distribution and online portals such as UFC TV and Showtime PPV app. People had been waiting for the day of the event anxiously. However, before the fight started, news broke out that fans watching on the UFC’s Fight Pass were experiencing issues with the live cables and online viewing, primarily from the T-Mobile Arena. The UFC said, “@UFCFightPass customers: Due to overwhelming traffic you may be experiencing log in issues. This will be resolved shortly” (Pay-Per-View Hiccup..., CSB, 2017). Some people began complaining about crashes, login problems, and disconnections on their social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook (Serjeant, 2017). Most of the fans were infuriated because they thought that they would miss out on the match, which they had paid to watch. However, in consideration of the outages, UFC decided to delay the fight for 20 minutes to allow the companies involved such as Showtime to work on issues so that they could provide the awaited services to enable the fans to watch the boxing match.  

Despite the reconnection of some stations and online live streaming sites, some fans missed part or all of the fight. In addition, people who were frustrated about the incident, also started to consider and complain about the fact they did spend extra money for the fight. The fans mentioned that they spent money on bets for the fight. "It could be a while before we see money like this bet on a fight again," Betfair spokeswoman Katie Baylis told ESPN (ESPN, David Purdum, 2017). While others mentioned that they bought, drinks and foods along with the payment of the $100 for PPV as preparation for the expected super fight. Therefore, they didn’t even have the time to enjoy these sports betting, snacks and drinks, because of the stream outages and asked the company for a refunds. (Perez, A.J, 2017) Most of the frustrated customers filed lawsuits to sue Showtime and UFC for the costs incurred following what was termed as technical issues with the servers and software (Gift, 2018). One of the fans that filed a lawsuit claimed that “instead of being a “witness to history” as the promotions for the fight had promised, all he saw was a grainy video, error screens, buffer events, and stall’ (Serjeant, 2017 p.1). Some of the cases were dismissed while the involved companies sort out ways of refunding their customers.
ShowTime PPV ad for the fight on Aug, 26, 2017

Even if the fight was available through different quality options that costs $89.95 to watch in standard definition and $99.95 in HD. 80% of the fans chose high definition stream, as the executive, Stephen Espinoza, said. (Draper, Kevin, 2017) Thus, the PPV outages and delay of the match affected many people who had paid to watch the much-anticipated event live at the arena as the game did not start on time. Some viewed part of the game while others did not. Some of the fans were enraged and felt cheated as they lost their money because there was no game to view. The incident indicated issues of business ethics among the companies involved in providing coverage for the match and their adverse effects on the customers that placed their trust in those companies.


The stakeholders that involved the most in this case are; the UFC executives (Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta, and Frank Fertitta), other workers like the social-media accounts managers and most important the customers and fans of both fighters. Customers were waiting for this fight since forever as they have been demanding this fight to be set and make it happen. So, they reached the UFC services of live stream which was pay-per-view to be able to watch the fight anywhere. Therefore, the were the most badly affected by the outages of the life stream of the fight. They experienced hard time trying to get what they were paying for. Also, they lost the time that they were putting to make this event perfect, like, inviting their families and friends to join them to watch this important event.


Individualism in Friedman’s perspective and obligations of business is that business should only aim to maximize their profit within the law and that business also should not attempt or concern to be socially responsible. Also, to give the business owner or shareholders self-determination in deciding the profit-making process where business’s aim should be. “The only goal of a business is profit, so the only obligation that the business person has is to maximize profit for the owner or the stockholders.” Under this business theory, individualist would see the UFC in this case as ethical, because the UFC was committed to make profit as they generate one of the best revenue records from PPV throughout its customers and the marketing plans for big companies and by sponsorships contracts.   


Kantianism means one has to act rationally; this includes putting the law into consideration as well as minimal morality. Another principle is the consideration of autonomy and freedom to choose of the clients. He also urges people to allow and involve others to help in making a decision and the motivation should be by a goodwill. In the case of goodwill, one should consider doing what is good because it is good. For a Kantian what UFC and Showtime did in this case is unethical. As both did not provide what they had promised customers after paying the PPV funds, which was to watch the fight from anywhere away from the arena with no problems at all. Although, they were both were doing the PPV services from a goodwill that was to make the people able to watch the fight even if they can’t attendant in the arena. Most of the fans didn't watch the super fight with these technical problems. Fans were waiting to receive a better experience as they were expecting from the PPV purchasing agreement policies when they decided to purchase the services.
The fighters during an after fight talks


The theory of utilitarianism concerns is maximizing happiness for all the stakeholders involved, especially, in the long term run. Utilitarianism is a theory founded by Jeremy Bentham and propounded by John Stuart Mill and other many contemporary utilitarians and activists, and argues that all decisions by human beings should bring pleasure and do so impartially. This means that one has to consider the utility value of a decision. A Utilitarian reviewing this case would view it as unethical. This because the UFC made everyone sad, disappointed and frustrated due to the PPV technical problems. Before the day of the fight, the people were excited and happy to be part of this historical fight. However, this incident caused a lot of people to lose their money as a result of the bad experience from the stream outages. Also, even after few problems were solved other were disappointed of the fact that they missed a lot of important moments of the super-fight as this kind of fights only happens once in a lifetime. 

Virtue Theory

Virtue Theory is that a business or an individual should follow four simple traits. Those traits are courage, honesty, temperance, and justice. The Greek philosopher Aristotle developed the theory. Before filing the lawsuits, the UFC was reluctant in offering the refund to fans who did not have access to the fight. Some fans felt that UFC was not fair in the provision of services and they filed lawsuits against the enterprise. One of the fans that filed a lawsuit claimed that “instead of being a “witness to history” as the promotions for the fight had promised, all he saw was a grainy video, error screens, buffer events, and stall’ (Serjeant, 2017 p.1). The potential of a person is considered together with virtues to determine his or her character. The theory insists that virtues and vices help to flourish or inhibits flourishing. A virtue theorist would find UFC to be unethical. Although, the company in return refunded the fans they money they had used to make subscriptions for the match. The UFC failed to fulfill the desires of their esteemed customers and fans for failing to deliver the match according to their expectations and as the agreement policies provided by the company had promised in return of the payment. As a lot of people were caring more to watch and witness the super fight more than dealing with refund issues at that time. 


Draper, Kevin. “Data Shows Mayweather-McGregor Was a Pay-Per-View Juggernaut.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 1 Sept. 2017, 

ESPN, David Purdum Via. “Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight drives record betting month.” ABC News, ABC News Network, 29 Sept. 2017, 

Gift, P. (2018). UFC expects to settle Mayweather-McGregor class-action lawsuits 'within a few weeks.' Forbes. Retrieved from, 

Menezes, J. D. (2017). Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather delayed after UFC fight pass pay-per-view system crashes. Independent. Retrieved from, 

Perez, A.J. “UFC, NeuLion mum on potential refunds for fans unable to stream Mayweather-McGregor fight.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 28 Aug. 2017, 

“Pay-Per-View Hiccup Leaves Some Mayweather Vs. McGregor Viewers In The Dark, Fight Could Be Delayed.” CBS Los Angeles, 26 Aug. 2017, 

Serjeant, J. (2017).  Showtime hit with lawsuits over Mayweather fight pay per view. Reuters. Retrieved from, 

1 comment:

  1. Muhannad! I liked how you described this controversy. UFC/showtime were clearly unethical. They cared about money more than their customers. They have the right to gain money, but without breaking the law, and UFC was not following the law during this Boxing Match. Many people lost their money trying to watch this event.