Time to start returning bottles and cans for the nickel deposits or picking up loose change when you see it on the street. You're going to need the extra funds to buy UFC pay-per-view events and a subscription to Showtime for Strikeforce now that the Feds have put the kibosh on 10 websites accused of illegally live-streaming copyrighted material.
This means good luck trying to watch UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort this weekend on channelsurfing.net or whatever other site without forking over money (Newsday's John Riley has the 10 sites here). Of course, those crazy web-sters will always find a way to stay one step ahead of the law's long arm.
The happiest folks here are the UFC, who have spent quite a few bucks of their own in recent months trying to stop these sites. They've filed several lawsuits, as well, including one against justin.tv, which was not named in the Feds' case. Here's the statement from UFC president Dana White after the news broke Wednesday:
“The very forceful actions taken by Mr. [Preet] Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and Mr. [John T.] Morton, the Director of ICE, against these parasitic websites is very welcome news. The criminal theft of Pay-Per-View events has resulted in the loss of millions of dollars of revenue to not only the UFC and its fighters, but has also deprived federal, state and local government of their rightful entitlement to significant tax revenue.
“On behalf of the UFC and its fighters, I extend my sincerest thanks to Mr. Bharara, Mr. Morton, and the many Assistant United States Attorneys and Agents of Homeland Security Investigations who worked so tirelessly during the course of this intensive investigation.”
If you want to watch free MMA fights online this weekend, become a fan of facebook.com/ufc and watch two prelims for free starting at 8:25 p.m.