For 24 afflicted hours aftermost Thursday it looked like the best advancing MMA activity of the year was asleep and buried. Aloof one anniversary afore he was appointed to accommodated Jorge Masvidal at Madison Square Garden, UFC superstar Nate Diaz appear that he’d been flagged by the United States Anti-Doping Bureau for assuming animated levels of a banned actuality and afresh told (by whom, he didn’t say) to adumbrate the after-effects until the activity was over. That is, afterwards anybody had fabricated their money on the activity you can beck on ESPN .
But Nate Diaz, actuality Nate Diaz, didn’t go along. Summoning every ounce of the anti-authoritarian spirit that has both captivated him aback and fabricated him a band hero during his 12-year administration in the UFC, he acquaint on Twitter that he wouldn’t cede his “dignity” or his “legacy” for the account of money and that he wouldn’t be angry afresh until his name was austere by the UFC and USADA. Not at Madison Square Garden, not anywhere.
Cancellation had been every MMA fan’s greatest abhorrence anytime back the Diaz-Masvidal activity was appear three months earlier, so while the specifics of the USADA adventure may accept been hasty (hardly anyone would accept anytime predicted Diaz accepting bankrupt for a banned substance), the book was annihilation new for MMA fans, whose anathema is to be consistently at accident of accepting their best longed-for fights canceled a week, a day, alike an hour afore they’re appointed to start. Injuries and bootless biologic tests and ailing managed weight cuts are consistently conspiring adjoin us. We apperceive annihilation is affirmed until the fighters airing into the cage. Afore then, every activity is conditional and every affection can be broken.
But this time things were different. Within 24 hours of Diaz calling USADA’s bluff, the bureau and UFC appear statements allowance the fighter of any wrongdoing, an aberrant turnaround. Which alone goes to appearance how able Diaz has become and how assisting his activity with Masvidal is activity to be. The UFC has consistently operated beneath the assumption that the advance is what bodies are loyal to, and they amusement their fighters accordingly—keeping their pay low, their application cachet shaky, and their aggregate acceding adeptness nonexistent. And while this adventure apparently won’t aftereffect in the activation of Diaz as a activity leader, it does announce a about-face in promotional ability dynamics, an acceptance by the UFC that a brilliant who both brings in lots of money and is accommodating to airing abroad on a moment’s apprehension holds sway.
And how absolute that such a about-face should appear in the lead-up to a activity Diaz himself fabricated happen.
After acquisition Anthony Pettis in August afterward three years of affluent repose, Diaz said he alone capital to activity who he alleged the “baddest motherfuckers” in the sport—fighters who, like him, affliction little about their own assurance and appetite violence, who adopt fistfights to angry matches, who don’t seek validation in rankings or appellation fights, and who try to absolute the bulk they’re accommodating to be pushed about by the UFC.
He alleged out Masvidal, whose cachet as a bad motherfucker was absolute and who was advancing off a name-making five-second knockout of Ben Askren a ages earlier. Never missing a promotional trick, UFC jumped on the appellation and created a new belt, the BMF belt, and declared Diaz and Masvidal the aboriginal contenders for it. If we’re activity by Diaz standards (and we must), a BMF shouldn’t chase rules or accept to authority, so by animating Diaz’s affront and inventing an absolute “division” about him and his whims, the UFC created a barbarian they accept no way of controlling. Hence aftermost week’s USADA scare. The promotion’s better accident of the year is now at the benevolence of fighters they’re affairs as agrarian cards.
Which is aloof as it should be. Activity promotions like the UFC are institutions, and institutions cartage in rankings and analytics and numbers and efficiencies and every added affectionate of spirit-crushing nonsense. Diaz and Masvidal, meanwhile, alive and activity absolutely by their spirits, embodying the alienation to their bloom and built-in antipathy for assurance that creates constant loyalists out of fans. They’re fighters in their souls and chargeless men. A anxiously strategized, calmly executed, but risk-averse win would be meaningless, alike offensive, to both.
Still, no amount how agitated and admirable Saturday night’s activity turns out to be, don’t apprehend it to absolutely actuate who the baddest motherfucker in MMA is, because that catechism has already been answered. Masvidal could actual able-bodied exhausted Diaz in the cage, but Diaz aloof took on a $4 billion association and an anti-doping bureau whose ascendancy is accustomed by the U.S. Congress and slapped them both about aloof to let them apperceive he could. What could be badder than that?
Here’s aggregate you charge to apperceive to beck the Diaz vs. Masvidal fight.
Thanks to an aberrant seven-year deal, ESPN is now the alone way to watch UFC 244 (and all consecutive UFC PPVs). Aside from ESPN acceptable your one-stop boutique for the MMA promotion, the OTT account additionally offers the UFC PPVs for $5 beneath than you acclimated to pay. Here’s how it break down:
In added words, you can buy UFC 244 for aloof $59.99, but if you absorb $20 more, you’ll additionally accept one year of ESPN for free. That’s a $50 value, and if you’re a big MMA fan, that’s a acceptable deal. Forth with affluence of absolute alive contest (see below), you can additionally watch 20 UFC Activity Night contest every year with ESPN .
If you don’t currently subscribe to ESPN , you can acquirement UFC 244 from your desktop or smartphone here. If you already subscribe, you can calmly buy the PPV from the ESPN app by artlessly beat on the accident in the ESPN tab.
One affair to remember: Alone the UFC 244 capital accident agenda will be featured on ESPN , and you will accept to pay the $59.99 PPV fee (full agenda and watch adviser below). Here’s the capital accident card:
Devices: Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, Roku players and TV, Oculus Go, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Samsung acute TVs, and iOS and Android devices
ESPN is ESPN’s OTT cable service. It works as an addendum of the ESPN app that you ability already accept on your adaptable device. Accept you anytime noticed the alive events, articles, or alternation tagged with a gold “E ” in the bend of the app? Those are the ones that are bound abaft the ESPN paywall. It’s actually bags of contest per year, including the above 20 UFC Activity Nights and a agglomeration of absolute Top Rank battle events. You’ll additionally get all of the best 30 for 30 episodes, daily MLB action, every out-of-market MLS game, all-embracing soccer, and added academy sports than you’ll apperceive what to do with.
Along with admission to a cardinal of aboriginal series, your ESPN cable additionally gives you beneath ads beyond the ESPN network.
TL;DR: It’s a appealing abundant accord and capital for aloof about every sports fan.
In case you charge a reminder: Your ESPN cable will not acquiesce you to watch the ESPN prelims for free. You’ll still charge a cable or alive TV cable to watch it on the arrangement alpha at 8pm ET. Actuality are the matches you’ll be able to watch on ESPN2:
If you don’t already accept a way to watch ESPN2 online, every above alive TV alive account carries the channel, and all of them action at atomic a one-week chargeless balloon afore you accept to alpha paying. Once you download the ESPN app and bite in your credentials, you can watch the prelims and the capital accident from one acceptable location. Actuality are a few options for you:
1) Hulu with Alive TV
2) Sling TV
3) YouTube TV
For the die-hard admirers out there, UFC’s Activity Pass carries the aboriginal prelims, which alpha at 6:30pm ET. Here’s the abounding Activity Pass lineup:
UFC Activity Pass launched in 2014. The account hosts the aboriginal undercard bouts of every UFC PPV, and it’s additionally area you’ll acquisition the smaller, added bounded UFC contest that aren’t best up by ESPN. The app is abundantly versatile. You can download it via Apple TV, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Roku, Samsung acute TVs, LG acute TVs, and iOS and Android devices.
All times in ET.
Main agenda | 10pm on ESPN
Prelims | 8pm on ESPN2
Early Prelims | 6:30pm on Activity Pass
For a year-round sports fix, assurance up actuality and analysis the “sports” box to accept our account battle newsletter. You’ll apprehend about all the better fights and best knockouts from the Daily Dot’s alive sports authority Josh Katzowitz.
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