MMA fans will be able to watch the contest, as well as all of the undercard fights, on ESPN+ in the US or on BT Sport 1 in the UK – both of which require paid subscriptions. Many of those unable or unwilling to pay for UFC 244 are expected to search online for links to illegal live streams that allow them to watch it for free.
This has been the case for previous editions of UFC, with hundreds of streams often shared across social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and certain Reddit forums in the build up to the fight.
Sites that host pirated streams also rank highly in online searches for the fight, with some experts claiming that it has never been easier to find illegal content online.
The proliferation of new devices like Kodi boxes and IPTV sticks that facilitate the viewing of premium and paywalled content has also led to an upward trend in piracy.
Ahead of UFC 242, the Industry Trust for IP Awareness warned that viewers were putting themselves at risk of viruses and malware.
"TV, sports and film piracy has reverted to peak levels in 2019," a spokesperson for the industry body said.
A recent study also revealed that the prospect of breaking the law to watch illegal streams is not much of a disincentive to determined sports fans.
The Fans of the EPL report revealed that despite 40 per cent of football fans knowing that unofficial internet streams are illegal, around 5 million football fans in the UK still use them to access the sport on a regular basis.
“This shadowy world of data piracy drains money away from the sport and threatens the integrity of the game,” said Premier League executive director Bill Bush.
Separate research from personal finance comparison site Finder found that 8.9 million UK residents streamed illegally, despite four in five paying for some kind of paid streaming service in 2018.
“The fact that our research found over 80% of Brits used a paid streaming service last year shows just how much we rely on online streaming,” said Jon Olster, CEO of Finder.
“Although it can be tempting to view illegally, there are many legal services that can offer reasonable rates that cater for all genres and also cover sporting events.”