By Jim Kimble / Updated September 20, 2021
The only legal option to live stream UFC PPV events, including UFC 266: Alexander Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega, is through ESPN+.
ESPN+ has the exclusive rights to pay-per-view UFC fights, and carries other MMA events such as UFC Fight Nights.
This article explains how to watch UFC pay-per-view fights and preliminary fights on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes without a cable TV or satellite service.
Table of Contents
- What is UFC Fight Night?
- How to get a UFC PPV with or without cable
- Other streaming platforms for ESPN, ABC or ESPN2
- Is ESPN+ on Comcast or Verizon Fios?
- How to Watch UFC Fights and PPV on Hulu
- What’s the Best Way to Stream UFC Fights Live Online?
Many cord-cutters already know that ESPN+ has grown into an essential platform to stream Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) matches live without a cable TV subscription.
But ESPN’s streaming service is not limited to UFC pay-per-view fights. There are UFC Fight Nights on Saturdays, and other live sports.
Daily MLB games, soccer, NHL, and hundreds of college football and NCAA basketball games are available to ESPN+ subscribers.
Original shows such as Dana White’s Contender Series, Detail from the Mind of Daniel Cormier and UFC Destined are also on the service.
What is UFC Fight Night?
UFC Fight Night began in August 2005 with the name UFC Ultimate Fight Night on Spike TV.
UFC Fight Nights have been exclusive to ESPN+ since January 2019 while UFC on ABC and UFC on ESPN continue to air on those respective channels.
Fight Night was an off-spring of the wildly popular reality TV show The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), which featured aspiring MMA fighters under the tutelage of well known UFC champs.
ESPN+ recently brought back the reality show under the title, The Return of the Ultimate Fighter, with weekly episodes.
How to get a UFC PPV with or without cable
You need to have an ESPN+ subscription even if you only want to buy UFC 266, which costs $64.99. An ESPN+ subscription costs $6.99 per month.
If you don’t have an ESPN+ subscription yet, there are a few different options to consider, especially if you want to save a few bucks.
Option 1: Buy UFC 266 PPV for $71.98 and you’ll automatically be signed up for a month-to-month ESPN+ subscription.
Option 2: You can bundle an annual ESPN+ subscription with UFC 266. The annual ESPN+ subscription and PPV event costs $84.98. That saves you 25 percent compared to the regular monthly rate of ESPN+.
Option 3: If you already subscribe monthly to Hulu and/or Disney+, you might want to consider getting UFC 266 with the Disney+ bundle. The Disney+ bundle includes Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ for $13.99 per month. That saves you about 25 percent on all your household streaming compared to paying for them separately. You can easily bundle the fight, and consolidate your subscriptions all at once.
Other streaming platforms for ESPN, ABC or ESPN2
Pick any Saturday on the ESPN+ schedule, and you will see at least two to three UFC fights.
While the main card will be on ESPN+, you will need access to ESPN for prelims.
ESPN, ESPN2, ABC and ESPN Deportes are no longer exclusive to cable TV and satellite providers. Live TV streaming service such as Hulu + Live TV and Sling TV carry these same channels. Instead of a cable box, you can use a Roku, Amazon Fire TV Stick or Google Chromecast to watch live TV with the streaming services listed below.
Here are a few resources that I have assembled on specific channels. You can read more about live TV services that carry ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and ABC below.
- How to watch ESPN without cable
- How to get the Disney+ and Hulu + Live TV bundle
- How to watch ABC live without cable
Hulu + Live TV
When you want to watch a prelim fight on ESPN, Hulu with Live TV is my top pick.
Subscribers get a full suite of ESPN networks, FS1, FS2, news and entertainment networks such as A&E, FX and Nat Geo Wild. There are 65+ channels total. ESPN Deportes is included in the Espanol add-on package, which costs $4.99 more per month.
You get 50 hours of Cloud DVR, the ability to activate almost 40 apps on your streaming device and unlimited access to Hulu’s on-demand library. That’s the same on-demand service that people pay $5.99 per month for. You will be able to watch ESPN or ESPN2 live using Hulu’s app on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and gaming consoles like Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Look over what local channels and regional sports networks that Hulu carries in your area. If Hulu isn’t your thing, keep reading. Hulu has a free 7-day trial for new subscribers — even if you already subscribe to Hulu’s on-demand.
fuboTV now has 120+ live TV channels, including sports, news and entertainment.
The fubo family bundle has ESPN, ESPN Deportes, AMC, Discovery, Disney Channel, HGTV and Food Network.
A fuboTV subscription comes with 250 hours of Cloud DVR. So you can record your favorite shows and watch them later. You don’t always need to use your Cloud DVR.
fuboTV also comes with a deep on-demand library. For sports fans, there’s the “look back”, an on-demand feature that lets you stream all sporting events that aired in the last 72 hours.
Look over the channel lineup to see what local stations and regional sports networks are offered in your area.
fuboTV has apps for just about any major streaming device, including Roku, Fire TV and Apple TV and NVIDIA Shield TV. With a fuboTV account, you can also activate about 40 apps through TV Everywhere support. A subscription costs $64.99 per month. fuboTV offers a free 7-day trial for new customers.
Sling TV is the cheapest option to get ESPN and ESPN2. The Orange plan costs $35 per month for 34+ channels, including AMC, HGTV and TBS. Subscribers get 50 hours of Cloud DVR for recordings.
You can start watching with a Roku, Fire TV, Smart TVs, Google Chromecast and smartphones. When you sign up for Sling TV, the first month of service is only $10. There are no contracts, or extra fees like cable TV. You can cancel anytime you like.
If you prepay for two months, you can get a free streaming device.
Vidgo has ESPN, ESPN Deportes, local ABC and FOX stations around much of the U.S.
This live TV service carries 95+ channels total, including ESPN, NFL RedZone, FS1, A&E and Hallmark Channel. Subscribers can stream on three screens at once. New subscribers get their first month for $10. There is no obligation to keep your subscription.
When you sign up for Vidgo, the first month costs only $10. A subscription costs $55 per month. There is no contract. Customers can subscribe on a month-to-month basis.
YouTube TV has ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3 as part of a 85+ channel package for $64.99 per month. The streaming service works on just about every major streaming device including Roku and Amazon Fire TV.
New customers can check out a free 7-day trial.
Is ESPN+ on Comcast or Verizon Fios?
You won’t find ESPN+ in your channel lineup with DIRECTV or a cable TV service such as Comcast, Spectrum or Verizon Fios.
ESPN+ is a standalone streaming service that has exclusive deals for live sporting events, including UFC, NHL, top rank boxing, tennis and hundreds of college football and basketball games. A subscription to ESPN+ costs only $5.99 per month, and it basically gives your ESPN app a dramatic upgrade.
How to Watch UFC Fights and PPV on Hulu
Hulu now allows you to live stream UFC Fight Night and pay-per-view UFC events.
You will need to add an ESPN+ subscription to your Hulu account to watch UFC Fight Night or to buy a PPV event.
An ESPN+ subscription costs $5.99 per month (and increases to $6.99 per month on Aug. 13). Adding ESPN+ to a Hulu account is fairly simple. Under settings, you want to select “manage your subscription” and go to the “add-ons” tab to add ESPN+ to your Hulu account.
Once you have added an ESPN+ subscription to Hulu, you will be able to access UFC Fight Night and all your other ESPN+ programming through your Hulu app. You can also buy PPV fights through Hulu once your ESPN+ subscription is confirmed.
What’s the Best Way to Stream UFC Fights Live Online?
I’ve just thrown a bunch of information at you, so let’s recap the most important stuff.
You will need ESPN+ to live stream UFC Fight Nights. Signing up for ESPN+ is super cheap at $5.99 per month, and you get a lot of shows and UFC-related programs that you won’t find anywhere else. Once you sign up, just head over to the ESPN app and sign in to your account.
If you want to watch a preliminary match on ESPN, then sign up for Hulu with Live TV. Subscribers get 65+ live TV channels, including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3. There is 50 hours of Cloud DVR to record sports, movies or TV shows. And you get unlimited access to Hulu’s on-demand library. That’s the same library that people pay $5.99 per month for. Look over Hulu’s Live TV channel lineup for your area.
No matter which option you choose to watch UFC online, you’ll be able to live stream fights to your iPhone, Apple TV, Roku, Fire Stick, PlayStation 4, and anywhere else you have an ESPN app. So how are you watching UFC fights live? Tell fellow readers in the comments below.
Founder and Editor of The Cord Cutting Report. Before launching the site in 2016, he worked for more than two decades as a staff writer or correspondent for a number of daily newspapers, including The Boston Globe. His enthusiasm for tech began with the Atari 2600. Follow @james_kimble