“Did anyone else have problems with ESPN+?” Brendan Schaub asked on the Below the Belt podcast. “So, I have all the family around. We got food and everything. Everyone ready? Here we go. Click. It goes, ‘This service does not work on this device.’ I’m like, ‘Ok, well, that’s not good.’ Try doing it again. Nothing. Try doing it from my phone. Nothing.
“ESPN, UFC, I’m trying to give you $80. And then finally I went, ‘Yo, if I don’t figure this out in five minutes… I’m going to turn to the dark side and have to illegally stream this.’ I must’ve got 2,000 DMs with different links. When I clicked on that link, that thing was better quality than I had on my f*cking… Than ever!
“What’s best for the fighters, what’s best for [Israel] ‘Stylebender’ [Adesanya] and Kelvin Gastelum and Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier, is getting as many eyeballs on this thing as possible,” he continued. “Not limiting, making people pay behind two paywalls so you’re getting this very small number of diehards that are going to tune into this thing. That’s not the best thing for the fighters. You’ve just lost so many casual fans. Cause you know what my dad did when I couldn’t figure it out? He went, ‘Who cares? Oh, it’s too much. I’m out.'”
The UFC’s new PPV method was in full swing for UFC 236 this past weekend. Unfortunately for some, the viewing process didn’t go all too smoothly on the ESPN+ end of things.
Former UFC heavyweight, Brendan Schaub among other former and current fighters like Michael Bisping and Katlyn Chookagian were just some of the few who vocalized their frustrations on social media.
Headlined by a big pairing of interim title fights, the UFC 236 event marked the UFC’s first pay-per-view that was exclusively streamed through the ESPN+ subscription service. A method of viewing that is expected to last up until the ESPN deal’s expiration which was extended until 2025 when the announcement was made.
However, UFC 236 wasn’t the first event that the UFC has had streaming troubles with when introducing a new viewing platform. Dating all the way back to December 2011, UFC 141 was set to be the first event that was watchable through the UFC app on the Xbox 360. As the kickoff event, it was going to be an event that could be watched for free. Unfortunately for many viewers, technical issues ‘hampered’ the broadcast which led to the UFC and Microsoft offering up the next event, UFC 142 for free as well.
Schaub would continue on to say during his recent podcast that mistakes like that for a product of ESPN’s caliber shouldn’t be happening.
“You’re not allowed for hiccups anymore,” he said. “When you work with ESPN-Disney, there’s no hiccups. When DAZN has hiccups, which they do… ‘Oh, it’s DAZN…’ I have nothing to base it off of. Of course, there’s gonna be some f*ck ups. Whatever. You’re figurin’ it out. You guys are new. ESPN? I don’t have time for hiccups. I watched your programming since I was two years old. There should be no hiccups. Especially when the UFC goes, ‘Guess what! This is the only way to watch the UFC.’ There can be no hiccups.”
Did you have trouble watching UFC 236 through ESPN+?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/17/2019