UFC

Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier: UFC Fans Are Asking for Refunds From ESPN and Donating It to Dustin’s Charity

When Conor McGregor enters the octagon, win or lose, it makes headlines. UFC 257 was no different, as he faced off against Dustin Poirier. It was a big fight for McGregor, who returned after a long absence. In a truly shocking moment, Poirier knocked out McGregor. While the Irish fighter now has to regroup, many UFC fans experienced streaming issues as part of ESPN’s fight coverage.

Let’s look at what happened, why some fans couldn’t watch parts of the card, and what they want to do with their refunds. 

What happened at UFC 257

Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor face off
Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor at the UFC 257 weigh-in | Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

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This was the second fight between McGregor and Poirier, and UFC’s first card of 2021. It was McGregor’s first bout since a dominant victory over Donald Cerrone in January 2020. According to UFC.com, McGregor dominated early. Poirier unloaded several nasty leg kicks that weakened the Irishman, though McGregor was able to keep delivering accurate blows. 

In the second round, Poirier hit McGregor with a devastating left-right combination that sent him tumbling to the mat, unable to defend himself. The referee stepped in once he took to the ground. The fight was over. The pair is now 1-1 against each other, which makes a rematch all but inevitable. 

McGregor said that his long layoff did him no favors: “Dustin is some fighter … I need activity. You don’t get away with being inactive in this business.” While the fight itself was brief but compelling, many fans were furious about spotty coverage online, which they purchased through ESPN.

The streaming issues fans faced at UFC 257

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According to The Bloody Elbow, some fans had issues streaming the fight. Due to ESPN’s deal with UFC, they offered the event exclusively on their app, ESPN+. Fans and even many fighters took to social media to complain when the event cut out intermittently. For an event that cost $70, they obviously wanted to see all of it.

ESPN released a quick statement attempting to apply a bandage to the wound. They simply said they were aware of the issue and were working to resolve it quickly. 

UFC head Dana White didn’t seem bothered by the outage. As MMA Fighting reports, he downplayed the seriousness and lauded the event’s overall success: “It was mostly on the West Coast … But they got it fixed, and it was a good night. It was a really good night — top-two of all time.” Of course it wasn’t a big deal to White, but many fans disagreed.

UFC fans who get refunds are donating them to Poirier’s charity

Many UFC 257 viewers were incensed. After all, they’d paid top dollar to watch the entire card, top to bottom. To have access restricted for part of it was unacceptable. UFC fans on Reddit gathered to discuss their dissatisfaction. One even suggested a way to turn this negative into a positive: 

“Just spent over an hour on hold with ESPN+ customer service before being issued a full refund … I took half my refund and donated it to Dustin’s foundation (https://www.thegoodfightgroup.com/) as my stream kicked in in time to enjoy the spectacular main event. Didn’t feel fair to take money away from the man after that performance.”

One commenter posted a compilation of fighters on social media who were unable to access the fight to Reddit. Another fan chimed in to second the idea of supporting Poirier’s charity: “Donating my bet winnings, that I won betting on Dustin, spread the wealth boys.”

Poirier’s charity does a lot of great work for underserved communities. The nonprofit reaches many different groups of underserved people. It’s touching that fans used ESPN’s embarrassing blunder to support a great cause.