Photo by Esther Lin via All Elbows.
When hackers angered by the UFC's support of unpopular anti-piracy legislation first took down UFC.com, UFC president Dana White was cavalier. He tweeted "I'm in the fight biz not the website biz. Who gives a ****?" Now that the company has had some more time, they've issued a formal statement on the matter:
"On Sunday, January 22nd, the UFC.com website was redirected by a criminal hacker to another website," a statement provided to MMA Fighting read. "The UFC website was quickly restored to the control of the UFC, and there is no evidence suggesting that any confidential information belonging to the company or its customers was compromised by the re-direction of the website. UFC representatives are continuing to investigate the matter and are working with law enforcement agents to prosecute those involved."
MMA Fighting's Ben Fowlkes took White to task for his response and answered White's hypothetical about who might care about the web site hack:
One answer might be: fans who have given the UFC their credit card information at some point in the past. Between online pay-per-view purchases, merchandise, and UFC Fight Club subscriptions, thousands of fans have no doubt passed important confidential information to the UFC through one of its websites, and those people might have liked a little extra reassurance from the public face of the company.
By comparison, after online shoe retailer Zappos.com was hacked earlier this month and the information for a reported 24 million accounts exposed, the company quickly sent out an email to customers to alert them to the situation and advise them to change their login and password information on any other site where they used "a same or similar password." Zappos also reassured customers that the "database that stores your critical credit card and other payment data was NOT affected or accessed."
MMA Payout points out why this issue may come back to haunt the UFC:
While the UFC will be concerned from an online security perspective, it should also look at it from a PR perspective. For the UFC, this may not be as easy as it seems. The UFC has been aggressive in its stance against illegal streaming and distribution of its fights. In supporting SOPA and PIPA, it sees legislation that can assist in its fight against online piracy. But, opposition to the laws, which include many young, internet savvy individuals - the same people that likely follow Dana White and many other UFC fighters on twitter, utilize social media and embrace the online community oppose the restrictions that would come with the proposed laws. We will see how SOPA and PIPA will evolve and if the UFC will continue to support it.