UFC Threatens To Sue Oklahoma Athletic Commission Over PPV Fee
The UFC has “threatened a lawsuit” against the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission, which now “faces the possibility of losing its primary source of funding,” according to Bill Haisten of the TULSA WORLD. The OSAC since ’99 has “collected a 4 percent fee on the purchases by state residents of pay-per-view fight telecasts," including MMA, boxing and pro wrestling. The UFC now is “challenging the legality of the fee.” OSAC Exec Dir Joe Miller said that the organization “operates on an annual budget of $350,000," and that over the last three years, the commission “collected about $240,000 annually” in PPV fees. In response to possible legal action by the UFC, Miller “had planned to suspend the commission's operation after March 31.” But Miller, after “discussing the commission's budgetary status with Oklahoma House leaders and senators,” said that the commission “will continue to function beyond March 31” (TULSA WORLD, 3/21). Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, Adam Hill reported the UFC is “expanding its efforts to fight pirating of its events on the Internet by going after individual users who access the streams.” Battling websites that “post illegal streams of UFC pay-per-view events has been an ongoing fight for the organization for several years now.” But the UFC “made it clear with the recent shutdown of greenfeedz.com and seizure of the site's records that those who seek out the pirated streams are also committing a crime and not immune to prosecution.” UFC Exec VP & General Counsel Lawrence Epstein “could not pinpoint an exact number of offenders potentially targeted or a specific timeline for legal action against individuals to commence." But he said, "The process of pursuing people has already begun" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 3/20).
CAN'T COMPETE? YAHOO SPORTS’ Kevin Iole writes Bellator “needs to find a better night to air its fights than on Friday, when it’s competing directly against the UFC.” There is “always a ton of competition from other events, but it doesn’t make much sense to go head-to-head with the industry leader.” Iole: “Find a different day or time to give your fighters the most exposure possible.” MMA Junkie reported that last week’s show “attracted just 108,000 viewers, the second-lowest ever” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 3/21).