UFC accused of faking public apology from pirate they sued for $32 million

UFC accused of faking public apology from pirate they sued for $32 million A torrent uploader who was successfully sued by the UFC is…

By: Tim Bissell | 3 years ago
UFC accused of faking public apology from pirate they sued for $32 million
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

UFC accused of faking public apology from pirate they sued for $32 million

A torrent uploader who was successfully sued by the UFC is now speaking out.

Six years ago Steven Messina was successfully sued by the UFC and ordered to pay $32 million in damages. His crime; creating torrents of UFC programming under the pseudonym ‘Secludedly’.

In a recent interview with TorrentFreak Messina spoke publicly about the lawsuit for the first time. With that outfit he accused the UFC of bullying him and faking a groveling apology.

This whole affair started in 2014 when the UFC launched their lawsuit against Messina, accusing him of uploading pirated UFC material to popular torrent sites The Pirate Bay and Kickass Torrents. The promotion was looking for $18.6 million in statutory damages for copyright infringement and up to $13.64 million for breaches of the Federal Communications Act.

The suit never went to trial, with a court awarding the UFC a default judgement of $32 million. The UFC announced their victory in September 2014 and published a public apology they said was from Messina.

The apology read as follows:

I apologize to the UFC for any damages incurred as a result of my actions in illegally distributing copyrighted UFC broadcasts. As a result of my confession for piracy of UFC’s protected content, I fully accept the terms of the settlement with the UFC.

I now realize the harm caused by my actions. It is my hope that I can use this difficult period as a learning experience as I move on with my life. I would also like to tell anyone pirating UFC broadcasts, either through illegal downloading or non-authorized streaming, that it is illegal and not worth the risk.

Kirk Hendrick, the UFC’s Chief Legal Officer, released a statement, too (per TorrentFreak). He said the UFC was, “pleased with the outcome of this case and Messina’s willingness to assist the UFC’s efforts in protecting our intellectual property and broadcasts. With Messina’s apology and understanding, the UFC organization will learn more to help us continue uncovering illegal distribution of our content.”

Now Messina, in his most recent interview with TorrentFreak, claims he never made that apology and he never paid a penny of the damages.

“I never publicly apologized, nor was I ever sorry,” claimed Messina. “I did what I believed was right for the many who couldn’t see these events, and I take pride in that fact.”

“No one got hurt and other people still made money,” he continued. “If anything, the UFC should have thanked me for my help in creating yet another platform or avenue for these hardworking athletes to get recognized and to help their own corporation grow, as insignificant it may have been. Regardless of what they say, they didn’t lose money. That’s simply an archaic bullshit mindset.”

Messina explained that the only money he spent in this whole ordeal was fees to his own lawyer and that no one ever tried to recoup the damages. He further alleged that the lawsuit concluded with signing a contract with the UFC that would allow them to release an “article of ‘me apologizing’ on FOX Sports’ website,” but he was not involved with the wording of the apology and was not happy with where they landed.

“I didn’t agree to it, nor wanted it done, and after days of declining to agree to the terms, I caved just to get it over with.”

When it comes to the architect of the apology that was attributed to him, Messina had some strong words to share: “Whoever wrote this can kiss my ass.”

Messina then expressed his opinion about content owners going after individuals who pirate content out of their passion for the product and not because they intend to break the law.

“You know who caused harm? The UFC did… to themselves. They went after a sick, disabled, young man without a penny to his name, that loves and supports the product. How does that make them look? It’s no wonder they were so desperate to put out that article to FOX Sports of me admitting I ‘did wrong and apologized.’”

Messina then went on to defend downloading culture.

“If you’re downloading or streaming from anywhere on the internet, then you either don’t have the channel on TV, the money to afford the PPV, or live in a place where it’s not available.

“Are you trying to tell me that people who can barely pay their bills should not be able to show support for your product if they so choose? You should be appreciating that people even WANT to download the product to begin with. Sure, people may not be able to buy the PPV that comes out the day before rent is due, but does that mean they aren’t supporting you?”

Messina stated that he no longer uploads UFC events. He said that would be pointless because there are so many illegal streams available for people not wanting to pay for UFC events.

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About the author
Tim Bissell
Tim Bissell

Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. Among Tim's specialties are the intersections between crime and combat sports. Tim has also covered head trauma, concussions and CTE in great detail.

Tim is also BE's lead (only) sumo reporter. He blogs about that sport here and on his own substack, Sumo Stomp!

Email me at tim@bloodyelbow.com. Nice messages will get a response.

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