The huge news out of the mixed martial arts world this week was the announcement that veterans Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal would at long last be fighting each other. Two weeks ago, Diaz challenged Masvidal by flattering his ego, calling him a kindred spirit and a fellow gangster. Masvidal couldn’t say no, especially after Diaz declared that he wanted to fight for something he called the “baddest motherfucker title.”
From a promotional standpoint, the timing couldn’t be better, as the main event of Saturday’s UFC event that can be streamed on ESPN+ featuring Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (36-12-1) and Justin Gaethje (20-2) is a BMF fight through and through, even if it was booked long before anyone knew what BMF was. It’s a guaranteed stand-up battle between two veterans who would fight for free on the street if they had to, simply for the life-affirming thrill of it.
If we’re going to allow ourselves to enjoy the fantasy that a BMF division actually exists (which it likely will only for the duration of the Diaz-Masvidal fight, a bit of promotional sleight-of-hand to capitalize on the transitory power of a meme), then Cerrone and Gaethje deserve to be charter members. It’s an honor they earned over long careers. It’s come thanks to a lack of concern for their own physical well-being, their indifference to convention, their belief in the existential difference between fighting as a matter of identity and fighting done for sport, and their disdain for the bland, wrestling-heavy, point-fighting style that has begun to dominate the upper levels of several UFC men’s divisions (but not, strangely, any of the women’s divisions; every female champion in the UFC is already an honorary BMF).
Cerrone and Gaethje may lack Diaz’s weed-soaked, fuck-you attitude and Masvidal’s history as a backyard brawler—no one has ever called them gangsters—but they too have been in the game forever and are genetically incapable of fighting safe. It would kill their souls to do so. Cerrone, for his part, would happily fight every weekend if the athletic commissions would let him (he once fought six times in 12 months, which is madness), while Gaethje seems to view his physical and mental health not as virtues to protect but annoyances to tolerate.
Their fight is a manifestation of a philosophy that sees fighting as an end to itself, something essential to a fighter’s being, where harm, both dished out and risked, is more important than money or rank. Cerrone has the most finishes in UFC history, and only two of Gaethje’s 22 professional fights have gone to decisions. The Fates simply don’t have the nerve to make Saturday’s main event go the distance even if they wanted to. Which they don’t. Because why would you? In this compromised, commodified world, something as beautiful and pure as a BMF fight needs to be cherished because it’s so increasingly rare. It was made to shine bright then burn out.
Here’s everything you need to know to live stream Cerrone vs. Gaethje.
Donald Cerrone vs. Justin Gaethje
- When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 8pm ET
- Where: Rogers Arena in Vancouver
- Streaming: ESPN+
- Cost: $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year
Cerrone vs. Gaethje: Watch UFC Fight Night 158 on ESPN+
UFC Fight Night 158 in Vancouver is being broadcast on ESPN+—the streaming service which, as of March 2019, signed a seven-year deal with the MMA organization to be the only home of UFC PPV telecasts and nearly two dozen UFC Fight Nights per year.
- Cost: $4.99 per month or $49.99 for 12 months
- Devices: Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, Roku players and TV, Oculus Go, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Samsung smart TVs, and iOS and Android devices
ESPN+ is a great way to stream all kinds of combat sports content. ESPN+ recently halted its free trial, but the service only costs $4.99 per month or $49.99 for the entire year, and you’re also allowed to cancel at any time. Given how much content you receive, that’s a considerable deal.
You’ll be able to watch the entire 30 for 30 catalog on demand, for example, as well as Top Rank boxing, daily MLB games, every out-of-market MLS game, international soccer, Grand Slam tennis, and thousands of college sporting events. ESPN+ works an extension of the main ESPN app. The ESPN+ exclusive content is designated by the “E+” logo in the corner of the preview tile.
UFC Fight Night Vancouver schedule
All times ET
Main Event | 8pm on ESPN+
- Donald Cerrone vs. Justin Gaethje
- Glover Teixeria vs. Nikita Krylov
- Todd Duffee vs. Jeff Hughes
- Michel Pereira vs. Tristan Connelly
- Uriah Hall vs. Antonio Carlos Junior
- Misha Cirkunov vs. Jimmy Crute
Preliminary Card | 5pm on ESPN+
- Marcin Tybura vs. Augusto Saika
- Cole Smith vs. Miles Johns
- Brad Katona vs. Hunter Azure
- Chas Skelly vs. Jordan Griffin
- Louis Smolka vs. Ryan MacDonald
- Kyle Prepolec vs. Austin Hubbard
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