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Why MMA betting is on the rise

The betting market in the UK has been perpetually growing for some time now. Sports betting is in its second wave with the rise of betting app technology – it’s clear that physical bookmakers are on their way out.

But this also makes the industry more challenging. With so many bets being placed on football in a given weekend, how are you supposed to gain any advantage? This is the thinking behind the rise of betting in smaller sports, like MMA, which is seeing great success in promotions like the UFC.

UFC and betting partnerships

The UFC is a multi-billion dollar company. It’s now under the ownership of TKO Group, who also own WWE. This is some distance away from how it started out, with Dana White admitting the company was always on the verge of extinction.

In 2024, its viewership will be in the millions. It’s a machine at creating stars, and these gain the attraction of even more casual onlookers. This has grown alongside the the surge in online sports betting, where it’s now common to see the likes of Drake place $500,000 on a bet – though, this is always done “in partnership” with a paying broker. As for the UFC, they know their audience, and they’re closely partnered with many brokers too, who get paid advertising placements in between fights.

A huge part of this growth in MMA sports is because MMA itself is new, and so there just is a lot of room for growth when it comes to this sports betting market. The same can be said for eSports – given how many people are into watching live streams of video games, it’s no surprise that the betting market is playing catch up. Betting is also heavily promoted by ex-fighters who do adverts on “their predictions” – something we wouldn’t see in many other sports.

A smaller sport makes for better odds

When looking through the top UK betting sites Haworth, it’s clear that there are many betting sites, and they all offer bets in many different sports. When it comes to MMA, it’s clear that there are some people who are really into it, but there is also a lot of casual viewers.

This makes for a good recipe when sports betting. If you understand ‘wisdom of the crowd’, it’s a theory that claims the collective knowledge of everyone, when averaged together, creates a very accurate prediction that is difficult to beat as an individual. This is why sports betting is so difficult.

However, when most of the audience are casual viewers, it becomes a lot easier. An average Fight Night event may have around 300,000 views, while a superstar fight will easily break 1 million. Generally, it’s in these events where people drop in once a year (and subsequently bet) that can skew odds towards fan favourites.

This is almost out of the question with football, where it’s completely normal to have a million viewers on a Sunday Premier League game. There are many knowledgeable people in football, and betting odds are not as volatile.

Two outcomes

Although there are exceptions, there are generally only two outcomes in an MMA fight. There are very few draws, and so you can be fairly sure you’re making a “50/50” bet. Of course, you don’t have to, and you can bet on the way it will finish (by judges, submission, or TKO?), and you can bet on the winner and on what exact round. There are lots of options, but importantly, the foundation is fairly simple.

It’s all too common in football where one team deserves to win and it ends up being a draw. It also feels as if it’s very difficult to predict when the players will be motivated and not tired due to there being so many games, meaning there are a lot of upsets – like Arsenal losing three games in a row recently. Whilst it’s subjective, MMA fighter styles are quite consistent – we know what to expect from them, and because they only fight once or twice a year, they usually deliver on that consistently.

Live betting

Finally, the growth of MMA betting is also down to the growth in the technology. Five years ago it was quite difficult to find a variety of sportsbooks that take bets on the sport, while now it’s very easy. Additional features like live betting make it more interesting of course, and the accessibility of these have also helped promote its growth.

Final Word

With the major century anniversary of UFC 300 coming up, we will likely see a lot of new attention on the sport. Not just in the form of eyes, but in bets too. This will be an opportunity for people to have fun with a stacked fight card, even down to the prelims, and perhaps get more familiar with its betting market.

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