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UFC 248 live stream: Free links to watch Adesanya fight Romero flood online as piracy plagues event

Hundreds of links to illegal live streams are expected to spread across Facebook, Reddit and Twitter

Anthony Cuthbertson
Saturday 07 March 2020 14:37 GMT
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Undefeated Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya takes on veteran fighter Yoel Romero in the main event at UFC 248 this weekend – one of two championship bouts taking place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Exclusive rights to the event rest with ESPN+ in the US and BT Sport in the UK, however the high cost of watching means many fans will likely seek out free live stream sites to watch it online.

Last month's heavyweight boxing match between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury saw between 10 and 20 million views of pirated streams, according to piracy tracking firm VFT Solutions, which experts said was largely as a result of the high pay-per-view (PPV) price to watch it.

In the US, ESPN+ is charging a similarly high price for the PPV of UFC 248, with anyone hoping to watch it legally expected to pay $64.99.

In the UK, BT Sport has not put the card as PPV, so MMA fans can watch the event as part of their subscription or by purchasing a £25 monthly pass.

The rising cost of purchasing live sporting events, combined with the ease of finding illegal live streams, has seen a huge spike in illegal streaming in recent years.

In the build up to UFC 247 in February, links to pirated streams were shared across Facebook, Reddit and Twitter. Searching for free streaming sites on popular search engines also provided an avenue for people to find illicit free streams.

Israel Adesanya takes on Yoel Romero at UFC 248 in Las Vegas this weekend
Israel Adesanya takes on Yoel Romero at UFC 248 in Las Vegas this weekend (CC)

Pirates have even managed to populate app stores with apps that host re-broadcasted streams illegally, leading industry experts to warn of the dangers of searching for and watching major events through unofficial channels.

“Accessing illegal streams opens users up to a whole host of risks, with streaming sites littered with pop ups and ads that could lead to your device being infected with viruses or malware,” John Fokker, head of cyber investigations, told The Independent.

“Many also don’t deliver what they advertise, often tricking viewers into sharing their payment details so that they can access personal content or infect your device with malware.”​

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