MMA’s gambling popularity could prove more lucrative than boxing.
Like other individualized sports, boxing has always had the attention of gamblers everywhere. The illustrious heavyweight championship was a calling card for punters even before Las Vegas became a home for the sport. Sportsbooks were moved inside casinos and the top entertainers were brought to casinos to perform, the stage was set for boxing to make its presence known in Vegas.
● MMA fresh appeal for gamblers tired of boxing
● LVs sportsbooks more action for MMA than boxing
● Top MMA matches weekly on TV without extra fees
The glamour and glitz of Vegas decorated boxing and attracted all the media attention as stayed at the forefront of gambling news. Every generation had several good fighters who had commercial appeal. Nowadays boxers are smaller. Outside of a few notables like Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquaio, boxing is not turning heads and Mixed Martial Arts or MMA’s popularity is increasing with online sportsbooks in the US.
MMAs gambling popularity brings a changing of the guard
The Las Vegas Sun revealed sport books figures showed that Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) had surpassed boxing. MMAs gambling popularity is becoming favored among gamblers even though boxing and the sports betting world were inseparable. Mixed Martial Arts is new and provides fresh appeal for gamblers who might be tired of boxing.
Mike Colbert, sportsbook director of Cantor Gaming which controls bookmaking at The M, Hard Rock, The Tropicana and Cosmopolitan, spoke about MMA’s replacement of boxing. “You’re talking to an absolute boxing guy here, and I will be the first to admit that UFC is more popular betting-wise. I never thought I’d see the day where it’s more popular.”
Although, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the top league for MMA, began in 1993, it didn’t make gambling news until its “Ultimate Fighter 1 Finale” in 2005. It didn’t take long for the organized fighting sports appeal to be on par with traditional American sports such as boxing, the National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB). Gamblers have shown a preference to bet on a sport that is barely 10 years old over a sport that is hundreds of years old.
Boxing has shown a lack of continued excitement it used to have years ago.“I think it’s directly related to boxing’s downfall over the last few years. Pacquiao is a one-man show. He is the only one that can bring any handle, and people want to bet on a combat sport” says Rob Akers, assistant sport book director at the Venetian and Lagasse’s Stadium. “They are always going to find some way to bet on one, and lately it’s been the UFC.”
Gambling Commission Steadfast in Decision
The lack of presence in top fighters definitely accounts for MMAs gambling popularity. During the 1980’s, shows like “The Wide World of Sports” on the American Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) routing aired top fights weekly. People didn’t have to “jump through hoops” to watch fights. During the 1990’s, if you paid for Home Box Office (HBO) or Showtime, people could watch championship bouts.
Nowadays people have to not only pay for cable or satellite television, but they have to pay additional money to watch top fights on pay-per-view or go down to the local sports bar which often charges a cover price. MMAs gambling popularity grows since fights are shown on several networks several days a week. People can now see top MMA fighters without having to pay extra fees, which they use for wagering through sportsbooks.
Boxing still carries with it a stigma of corruption gained early in its history. Some punters, particularly new ones may not feel the confidence to put money down on mid-card or preliminary fights. In MMA, prelim bouts are standard on every fight card and most of the fighters have some sort of connection to more established fighters either through trainers or fight clubs. Gamblers realize MMA fights don’t have to make U.S gambling news in order for them to make money.
In addition, there are so many fights weekly that if a punter loses one day, they can easily get the opportunity to get their money back sooner on an equally large fight. In boxing, a punter may have to wait several months for the same opportunity. MMA’s relative youth created a learning curve for handicappers and bookmakers who’d rather put their attention towards “bread winning sports” such as NFL and college football. Casual fans, can easily “sweetin’” the pot while gamblers with “know how” can reap fortune.