With the help of federal authorities, the UFC is ready to drop the hammer on someone who could have plans to host an illegal stream of UFC 257.
UFC president Dana White made waves on social media earlier this month when he threatened an Instagram user who commented on one of White’s posts that he couldn’t wait to pirate Saturday’s pay-per-view headlined by Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirer. White later doubled down and said he “looked forward to the crying and the begging” from people who got caught.
Now, just two days before UFC 257, White says he has one person in his crosshairs.
“We got one. We got him,” White said during Thursday’s UFC 257 news conference. “We’re watching this guy right now. All you have to do is turn it on Saturday, and we got you, f*cker. I can’t wait. Turn it on Saturday, streamers, and see what happens.”
At the time, it was unclear what those words. Later in the day, White elaborated during an interview with BT Sport.
“When I came out and said this (earlier this month), all these guys started taunting me. So I went through, and I picked. I said, ‘You. You’re the guy.’ And I told my people, ‘I want this guy.’ And guess what? We got him,” White said, adding that the person in question is not American. “We’re watching his house, we’re listening to his phone conversations, and if he puts it up on Saturday, we got him.”
A high-ranking UFC official with knowledge of the situation told MMA Junkie that the promotion has been working with federal authorities to catch the suspected illegal streaming host. The official, familiar with the UFC’s thinking, indicated the promotion is looking to make this person an example.
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A federal COVID relief bill, which was passed by Congress in late December, included anti-piracy legislation – the Protecting Lawful Streaming Act – which states violators could be prosecuted and face up to 10 years in prison for multiple offenses.
Armed with this, White is ready to pounce on the illegal streaming suspect in question.
“(If) he pops this link up on Saturday, we got him, and we will arrest him, and I will prosecute him,” White said. “I will not be nice. I will not give him any leniency whatsoever. I will go guns-a-f*ckin’-blazing on this guy.”
UFC 257 takes place Saturday at Etihad Arena on “Fight Island.” The main card streams on ESPN+ pay-per-view followed by prelims on ESPN and ESPN+.