Last week UFC parent company ZUFFA filed suit against Steven A. Messina, 27, who lives with his mom and dad in Great Kills, NY.
Among the allegations in the suit is that:
•Messina attempted to operate anonymously under the name Secludedly.
•Uploaded 141 UFC events to sites like Piratebay.
•Called himself the “Provider of Best MMA & Boxing rips online!"
•Asked viewers to “Help Me Cap PPV!” through his PayPal donation account, called “MMA Capping Fund!”
•Messina and associates “are intent on becoming the most well known pirates and infringers on the internet by making their mark on the major torrent websites available on the internet."
The suit seeks up to $150,000 for each act of infringement, up to $110,000 for each illegal use of UFC content, up to $60,000 for intercepting UFC content, and lawyer’s fees for a sobering total of $32,000,000.
In a recent interview, Messina said he was the last to know, receiving papers two days after the story broke in the NY Post.
“A relative recognized my name in the New York Post and word got to me through phone, and people were wondering if it was me," said Messina. "Now, I’m rarely out of my house, ever. I’m sick. So I am like, ‘How the hell can I be in the Post?’ I decided to look it up, and hello, there I am. Then the Internet started going crazy about it, and everyone is getting all this information that I have no clue how they are getting, most of it totally wrong!”
“There were no police involved, no criminal actions taken. I’ll be honest, I don’t understand the laws and all that around this type of thing, so I’m a little lost here and overwhelmed. I don’t even know what is going on. I think people on the Internet know more than me.”
Stories had made light of Messina living in his parent's basement, but as he tells it, the truth is not a joke. Messina says he suffers from a number of psychiatric conditions including agoraphobia, panic, anxiety and bipolar disorders, and spent four years without leaving his bedroom.
“Most of the time I barely had enough to cover an event’s cost after donations and would use my own money saved for medication and doctors. In total, I’ve probably made no more in a year than $450-$550 in donations. But just that helped me pay for a few months of medical expenses, as well as maybe four or five fight cards. I always ended up paying out of my own pocket though, as I’ve had money from my previous job saved in my checking account.”
“It’s always the one you love the most that can hurt you the most. I love the UFC. I love MMA. I want the world to know of it and acknowledge it as a legitimate sport and I want it to be famous. I don’t want myself to be famous. That’s an oxymoron for me, don’t you think? An agoraphobe seeking attention? I want to be left alone and continue living my horrible life with what little I have, and that’s my family and MMA.”
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