Sports

UFC Hits Brazen Torrent Uploader With $32 Million Lawsuit

The UFC is not taking pirate streams laying down. UFC parent company Zuffa hopes to make a statement with a $32 million lawsuit against one defendant. While $32 million seems extreme, you may want to hear a little about the defendant before you rip Zuffa.

The story made international headlines last week when a New York man was served with a $32 million bill for streaming UFC shows. The lawsuit alleges that this streamer owes the company $32 for providing torrents to UFC events. That is the key here. He wasn’t just watching the shows. He was actually uploading and proving the shows on torrent sites.

The $32 million figure sounds absurd on the surface but when you read about the case, the figure is not completely ridiculous. Steven Messina allegedly uploaded 141 UFC events to torrents site Piratebay and accepted PayPal donations to keep his uploading going. So not only was he providing the shows, he was profiting as well.

Here is where it gets fun. Messina publicly bragged about his illegal uploads. Messina referred to himself online as “Provider of Best MMA & Boxing rips online!” He actually gave an interview with website Torrent Freak last year where he bragged about the quality of his video torrents. Here is how the article described him.

One Pirate Bay focused releaser, known as Secludedly, is dedicated to releasing UFC/MMA, boxing events and other TV shows. He has dozens to his name and many of them are uploaded at 60FPS.”

He even boasted about the quality of his uploads, in addition to writing a check for $32 million.

Take for example the 720p rips of The Ultimate Fighter that I do. Someone in the cage throws a punch at their opponent. Now, you see them punching, but it’s as if all you saw was a mere blur, and you can’t completely decipher where that punch landed because of the deduction of the frames in 24FPS or 30FPS. Why? Because the frames are pruned to a point where fast action like a punch cannot keep up in a lesser frame-rate.

The lawsuit states, “(Messina and his friends) are intent on becoming the most well known pirates and infringers on the internet by making their mark on the major torrent websites available on the internet,” the suit states.”

I think that the UFC is impacted by pirate streams and torrent sites more than just about any other sporting company. I was never in favor of them going after people that watched a stream, but I think they have every right to go after individuals who upload and provide the torrents, especially ones who profit financially off of it.

Unfortunately as clear cut as this case appears to be there is little chance of Zuffa ever receiving anywhere close to judgment as Messina reportedly lives with his parents. This isn’t about money. It’s about a statement and the UFC wants everyone to take notice…and they have.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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