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Did You Pirate the Paul-Askren Fight? It’s Time To Pay Up

We try very, very hard to not encourage the Paul brothers, who seemingly sprung full-formed into the national consciousness via the late app Vine, like Athena from the douchey head of Zeus. Since then, the Brothers Paul routinely pop up in the national press for sexual assault, neighbor annoyance, suicide levity, and a handful of other stupid and/or illegal things that we could list if we cared to run a quick Google search. But the family’s latest publicity stunt, which involves the younger brother Jake’s transition into a boxer, may cost casual fans even more than witnessing the tainting of the sweet sport.

The Paul-Ben Askren fight, which was broadcast live on pay-per-view April 17, ended one minute and 59 seconds in Round One via a Paul overhand right that sent Askren down. Askren, who stood on wobbly legs, was judged not suitable to continue the fight, and it was called off by the ref. When divided by the $49.99 PPV cost, fans spent 42 cents per second of foolishness.

(It should be noted here that Askren, a two-time NCAA Division I freestyle wrestling champ and 2008 Olympian, was nevertheless a weak-sauce mixed martial artist who holds the ignoble record of being the recipient of the fastest UFC knockout ever. At five seconds, it was so quick that the UFC was forced to release the full fight, as its duration made it nearly impossible to prevent sharing via GIF. Still, the Paul fight was accurately ruled an upset against Askren.)

Despite the monetary and mental cost to what the casual boxing fan endured, on Monday, May 4, Paul-Askren fight promoter Triller claimed that more than two million viewers pirated the PPV stream, and, in an exclusive statement to Reuters, demanded that unless it gets its pound of flesh, there will be legal and financial hell to pay.

“VPNs all have to comply and turn over the actual IP addresses of each person who stole the fight in discovery,” Triller’s Head of Piracy Matt St. Claire told Reuters after a filing against the website H3Podcast in the U.S. District Court of Central California the same day. H3Podcast is alleged to have pirated the event, which was then viewed by the two million users.

“We will be able to identify each and every person, VPN or not, as each stream has a unique fingerprint embedded in the content,” St. Claire continued, adding that the Triller is planning on pursing each and every culprit for the maximum amount allowed under the law, which is an eye-watering $150,000. However, the company will show mercy if onetime pirates simply pay it the PPV advertised cost by June 1. Triller has even set up a landing page, should you want to narc on yourself.

Now, we’ve heard plenty of laughable corporate titles, but “Head of Piracy” certainly ranks among the top of the corporate b—s— heap. The question remains: Are there actual teeth in Triller’s threats, which might lead to a repeat of the FBI’s raid against a hapless mom whose kids downloaded a bunch of MP3s? Or is this just saber-rattling in an attempt to squeeze a little more money into the company’s coffers?

So if you’re one of the supposed two million people who pirated the event, today may be the time to pay for your sins. If anything, it might teach you a valuable lesson about not encouraging milquetoast social media stars in their quest to learn how to box.

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Jon Gugala
Features Writer
Jon Gugala is a freelance writer and photographer based in Nashville, Tenn. A former gear editor for Outside Magazine, his…
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