UFC Fight Pass Review: Is It Worth Your Loot Now?

UFC Fight Pass Review

It was a little more than a year ago where I asked readers of Caged Insider, “UFC Fight Pass: Worth Your Loot?”

The web subscription service was already a few months old, and UFC had begun making offers for free trials. Fight Pass offered an expansive catalog of bouts from the UFC archives, as well as the promotions ZUFFA acquired over the years. They also debuted some original programming, including the international versions of The Ultimate Fighter. They also broadcast a few live events.

Still, at the time? I answered the question “no.”

I’d like to recommend Fight Pass. If it was combined with broadcast of UFC programming, maybe a discount on PPV, it would make more sense. Maybe if a lot of this material (TUF:Brasil, PPV preliminary bouts) weren’t available free before Fight Pass, maybe I’d be more receptive to it.

I’ve heard from fans without cable TV or living internationally where UFC programming isn’t available. Right now, Fight Pass makes sense for them. Maybe it makes sense for you.

But, it just doesn’t make sense for most fans. Including this one.

Still, I stuck with it — and since then, much has changed.

Just two months later, UFC Fight Pass added live Invicta events to their lineup. Previously Invicta had attempted web-only PPV to varying degrees of success. Now, it’s available with a Fight Pass subscription.

Then, in November, UFC Fight Pass broadcast UFC Fight Night Sydney, which was many fans’ pick for the best MMA event of the year. At the time, here at MMA Nuts, I noted as a case of great action trumping greater events.

…that was UFC last night — maybe not so much to weigh heavily on the rankings, but it sure was a ton of fun. Offer one of these every month, and UFC Fight Pass actually seems a heck of a value.

Since then, UFC Fight Pass has added a huge amount of original programming.

BJ Penn’s “Fightography” episode is a great example of how good Fight Pass programming can be. In the 15 minute documentary, Penn narrates his trilogy with Matt Hughes; and puts his career in perspective. Penn is at his best, in the cage and out. It’s brief but it’s just about perfect.

Compare to the “BJ Penn Mana” documentary (available on YouTube) — which casts too much of its focus on ZUFFA brass’ opinions, and not on its subject. (Maybe with no need to sell anyone one way or another, ZUFFA isn’t afraid to hand the spotlight where it really belongs?) Or, the earlier 90 Days Documentary, which is fun; but drags… and is just not quite up to today’s production standards.

Other original programming shows promise. Kyra Gracie is a charismatic presence in her show, “The Third Degree.” It’s a take on earlier shows like “Fight Quest” and “Human Weapon,” with the jiu-jitsu ace travelling around the world to experience different martial arts. She’s gone to Mexico to box and back to Brazil to train jiu-jitsu, but so far it’s so-so. She doesn’t really fight anyone and the insight into the arts is a little hokey. But there’s some fun to be had. My hope is the show hits its stride with an upcoming catch-as-catch-can offering from Britain.

In addition to Invicta FC, Fight Pass offers events from Shooto: Brazil, Pancrase in Japan, Titan FC in the US, and reportedly there’s more to come. Former Yahoo! Exec Eric Winter, who heads the project, told Dave Meltzer that he intends to have a live UFC Fight Pass event held weekly. My hope is the recent union between Destiny MMA in Hawaii and Pancrase leads to some of their events getting broadcast.

So, I’ve had to change my opinion. I still wish it offered a discount on PPV, and I still don’t think it’s quite what it could be. But for one obsessed fan, UFC Fight Pass has gone from “not worth it” in 2014 to “worth it, begrudgingly” in 2015.

End of UFC Fight Pass Review.