UFC Fight Pass subscribers who’ve searched in vain for old fights will soon have the promotion’s massive content library at their fingertips, according to UFC President Dana White.
White told MMAjunkie the promotion plans to upload its entire catalogue, which includes individual fights in the now-defunct PRIDE, Strikeforce and WEC promotions, by March, when a three-month free trial ends for the online network (and the credit cards of current subscribers start to get charged).
“Everything will be on there, and what we’re going to do is, even though there’s issues … we’re still going to put it up,” he said following Wednesday’s UFC Fight Night 35, which took place outside of Atlanta.
White said over the next year, the UFC will scrub the library of problems such as banned sponsors. He said the promotion already has done its job when it comes to the quality of the streaming content.
“I was on a mountain in Wyoming and I couldn’t even get cell service, and I watched a fight from China in Wyoming without one glitch,” he said. “No audio, no video glitch. It was awesome. The thing’s just going to keep getting better, and wait until you see what we have for other stuff we’re bringing into Fight Pass.”
White didn’t specifically address complaints repeatedly voiced online about the library’s functionality, geoblocked content, password and credit card encryption, or user interface, among others. The library currently is only available to desktop computer users, though it also allows iPad owners limited access to content.
UFC Fight Pass was launched just prior to this past month’s UFC 168 and immediately met with mixed reviews, most of which concluded the promotion had rolled out an incomplete product for consumer use. Some observers speculated the online network was rushed to market to one-up pro-wrestling industry-leader WWE, which debuted its own online network earlier this month.
That service not only includes a library of content, but gives users access to the WWE’s pay-per-view events, which is how the wrestling and fighting promotions have made most of their money. Already, pay-per-view distributors have threatened to stop airing WWE events.
“(WWE head) Vince (McMahon) is a trailblazer,” White said. “Look at the stuff he’s done throughout his career with the WWE and where he’s brought wrestling. Who knows, maybe that works for him. It doesn’t make sense to me.
“He’s an animal and he’s a trailblazer. It’s hard to doubt Vince when you see what he’s done.”
The WWE clearly is banking on the idea that any lost pay-per-view revenue will be offset by the subscriber base of its online network. White isn’t making that bet just yet, but said the promotion’s online push has been a long time coming.
While the transition hasn’t been problem-free, White is a believer in the network’s potential.
“Thirteen years ago, when we bought this company, this is what we’ve been waiting for,” he said. “We’ve been waiting for this for 13 years. I was saying in old interviews that this thing works all over the world. We’re going to bring it to all these different places, and what do you think is going to happen when everything goes online? Millions of people from around the world can watch at the same time.”
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