High-speed internet has made it easy and economical for millions of people to “cut the cord” and ditch traditional cable or satellite TV in favor of online streaming services. But due to regional broadcasting restrictions, sports fans had to wait a while longer to enjoy live and on-demand content. Movies and TV shows have been available on services like Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video for almost a decade now, and today’s 4K smart TVs even come with built-in internet connectivity and pre-loaded streaming apps — but only recently have services like ESPN+, FuboTV, Sling, and Hulu done the same thing for live-action sports like the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
This is great news for MMA fans, as UFC’s tight relationship with ESPN now makes it extremely easy to live stream UFC fights online. The world’s biggest mixed martial arts fighting league has joined with ESPN to bring you all of your favorite UFC content in 2023, both online and on TV. Fox previously held exclusive broadcasting rights to UFC through 2018, but starting in 2019, the contract went to ESPN. This means that for the foreseeable future, all Ultimate Fighting Championship content is airing only on this sports network.
For the cord-cutters out there, ESPN rolled out its own premium streaming service called ESPN+ in the spring of 2018. Although some fight cards are broadcast on ESPN’s TV channel and UFC Fight Pass, ESPN+ is the only venue for watching UFC PPVs online.
If you already have a streaming package you like and all you want is ESPN+ by itself for streaming UFC fights and pay-per-view events (although it also offers a mountain of other sports content beyond MMA), then you can simply sign up for it and you’re good to go. Despite the price creeping up over the years, it’s still a solid value at just $10 per month or $100 per year. Ahead of pay-per-view showings, new subscribers can take advantage of a bundle deal that offers a year’s worth of ESPN+ along with the upcoming PPV package for $125– a nice $55 discount off the price of purchasing them separately. You can use ESPN+ with virtually all modern smart TVs, streaming devices (including smartphones and tablets), computer web browsers, and PlayStation and Xbox gaming consoles.
Other streaming platforms
On the other hand, if you’re only now cutting the cord and are looking for a streaming TV package that comes bundled with ESPN channels — particularly the ones where you’ll be able to watch select UFC fight cards — then you’ve got a few options. Just bear in mind that none of these currently airs live UFC pay-per-views; you’ll still need ESPN+ for that. All of these premium streaming services work on most mobile devices, smart TVs, streaming sticks, and modern computer web browsers unless otherwise noted:
- FuboTV has two standard plans — The $75/month Pro plan and the $85/month Elite package — both of which include ESPN. Plans include more than 140 channels and 1,000 hours of DVR cloud storage, with the higher tiers adding more channels and some other extras like 4K viewing. This is quickly shaping up to be the best streaming platform for sports, so if that’s your focus, Fubo might be the one for you.
- Hulu includes ESPN as part of its $70-per-month Live TV plan, which now includes Disney+ and ESPN+ as well. You can also add premium channels like HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and Starz, for an extra fee. If all you want is ESPN+ and don’t care about live TV, then a more economical choice might be this $13/month bundle that comes with basic ad-supported Hulu, ESPN+, and Disney+. Hulu can be used on your gaming consoles and smart TVs, as well as the devices listed above. Since both of these options include ESPN+, you can watch all UFC fights with either one, including pay-per-view events.
- Sling TV has two packages which include ESPN channels: The $40 per month Orange plan and the $55 per month Blue + Orange plan. Premium channels cost extra, and HBO and Cinemax are now available with Sling as well. Sling is compatible with streaming devices and it can be used with smart TVs as well as the Xbox.
- YouTube TV, available for $65 per month with additional premium channel subscriptions on offer, comes with ESPN, and it now also supports HBO and Cinemax as add-ons. You also get unlimited DVR cloud storage. YouTube TV can be streamed on a variety of devices and smart TVs, and it’s also available on current-gen Xbox and PlayStation consoles.
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