Why I Really Dislike Paying for Pay-Per-View

Bryan FordCorrespondent IMay 11, 2010

MONTREAL- MAY 8: Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua receives the light heavyweight belt after defeating Lyoto Machida at UFC 113 at Bell Centre on May 8, 2010 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

I hate pay-per-view. Let me rephrase. I really dislike paying for pay-per-view events.  I also hate typing out the phrase pay-per-view, so henceforth in this article it shall be called PPV.  Evidently I don't hate being lazy.

Back on topic, I have been complaining and whining about PPV and the use by the UFC to my friends for a while. Yes, I'm not proud of it, but sometimes it just hurts to fork over the amount of money it costs to order a big UFC event. The pain is worse when the wife finds out.  

In my case, she doesn't mind the UFC, though she doesn't believe it is something worth paying money to watch. At least not often.  I've tried to use the same excuse for romantic comedies at the theater, but it doesn't seem to fly.

I guess I have just become so accustomed to watching the sports I love for free.  And I love a lot of sports, including mixed martial arts.  When looking for my favorite NFL, MLB, or NBA team, I can usually find it with my basic satellite package.  I can find the UFC events that way also, but there is an extra price tag attached.

Looking for Tiger Woods and his bulging disc?  If it's the weekend, it will probably be on a major network.  With the UFC we get a few free fights on Spike every year, plus all of the Ultimate Fighter episodes.  And I'm very happy about that. Anytime there is a fight night, or a free card on Spike I almost feel like I beat the system.

Most of the WEC fights were free on Versus, but even that has changed recently.  I didn't order the last Faber/Aldo card and of course I've been kicking myself ever since. Sometimes picking the right card to order is half the battle.  I am very glad that I didn't order UFC 112.  I didn't even watch it.  At least I got that one right.

Now let's talk about the ways most of us watch the fights.  Let's call these watching at home by ourselves or with immediate family, watching at home with friends who chip in, and finally, going to a bar/restaurant to watch. The last one can be alone or in a group.  

There are other ways, like trying to find a crappy online stream or actually attending the event.  From my experience, attending live is the best, but not practical for most people. Finding it on a stream? I've never had any luck and I feel a bit dirty attempting it at all.  

If you're like me, you have ordered a UFC PPV event at your house a few times. The best thing about watching this way is getting to enjoy the comforts of your own home. Like it or not, you know the company you'll be keeping. As for keeping costs down, you don't have to travel anywhere and the food, snacks and drinks can be whatever you like. I suggest jalapeno flavored chips and Jones soda.

The downside of course is taking on all the cost of the PPV yourself.  Which, if I were to do this for every UFC PPV, I'd end up having to move into my own apartment.  To effectively use this method, I really have to pick and choose which events I want to buy. Or I need to do a better job of hiding the satellite bill.

Having friends over or going over to a friends house is another preferred method of UFCing it (UFCing is the act of watching a big UFC event as just defined by me).  This can be a lot of fun, and if everyone chips in really lowers the cost of the PPV.  

It's just not always practical to do this every month.  Personal schedules, planning, figuring out who gets invited, all of that is taxing for an unorganized person like myself.  So I usually don't have these types of watch parties at my house.  I prefer to leave that to others.  Plus I really don't want my kids exposed to most UFC fans. 

I've spent most of my time watching the biggest events at restaurants or bars or restaurantbars.  Or barstaurants?  Someone please clear this up for me.  Anyway, sometimes this turns out great and it has also been a disaster.  Most important, I'm not going anywhere that charges a cover. 

When the fights are great, it can be electric.  It's really cool to be in a room full of passionate fans.  When they aren't great, it feels dead.  That is why it is important to pick a place with good food.  At least you have that to fall back on. 

One problem is these places are usually very crowded, so sound and comfort isn't always great.  It's the situation PPV's have put me in most of the time, and truthfully, it is my least favorite way to watch.  It just often ends up being the most convenient.

There is a new option that will probably be offered more in the future.  Watching at a movie theater.  I did this for UFC 111.  The ticket was 20 bucks.  More than I was hoping.  The food?  Well, it was a movie theater offering the usual high priced movie fare. 

The picture and sound were fantastic though.  I spent about thirty three dollars overall and I felt it was worth it because Frank Mir was destroyed by Shane Carwin and Shane Carwin knocked Frank Mir out.  If you were at the theater with me, I was the person standing up and yelling at Frank to get up, so he could get knocked down again.  Yes, he is not my favorite fighter. 

I'll probably try this again in the future.  Still wish the ticket price was around ten bucks or so.  If that was the case, it would be a no-brainer for me.

Now there's a reason UFC uses PPV.  The UFC is a business and they want to profit as much as possible.  At this point and time, it is by far their best option.  It might be that way forever.  For a better perspective on the business side of UFC's PPVs for 2009, check out this article from Dave Meltzer of Yahoo Sports .

He's much smarter than I am and is good with numbers and statistics.  He shows how even though there are people like me who cringe every time we have to pay for a UFC event, they are still doing fine even with me whining about it.

I'm sure some of you out there have no trouble paying for all of the events.  I know others like me who try and pick and choose when to watch.  Then it's just the decision on where and how. 

I hope someday the UFC signs a deal with a big network that allows for many more events to be shown without using PPV.  I don't like being Mr. Complainer,  but I feel like that every time there is a PPV.  As problems of the world go, it's a fairly minor one.  But the truth is, I really dislike paying for PPV.  I just want to sit in my recliner and watch it for free. 

Then I could stop yelling at GSP to get off my yard.