At UFC 235 this past weekend at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, veteran welterweight fighter Robbie Lawler nearly pounded former Olympic wrestler and 2/1 favourite Ben Askren to a first-round TKO victory. But Askren, making his first UFC look, managed to endure Lawler’s early onslaught of body and head shots, and about two minutes later, at 3:20 in the initial round, finished the comeback, ending it with a bulldog choke.
Respected referee Herb Dean saw Lawler’s arm limp while he tried to extricate himself in the choke, causing Dean to stop the struggle in what goes down as a submission win for Askren. While controversial and unlucky for Lawler (and his backers), it was clear, and the popular Lawler quickly turned from aggrieved to praising Dean and expressing his comprehension (transcript here.)
The NFL is the king of U.S sports gambling, but mixed martial arts provides something different, in some ways much better and more intriguing, and really controversial at times, same as each game. Certain occasions, even for a somewhat niche sport now in its very first year of a supply deal on ESPN platforms, can create the gambling handle seen in an excellent NFL game.
“Everyone knows a struggle”
Exposure to more mainstream audiences through ESPN and FOX Sports 1, through an earlier deal, proceeds to raise MMA’s profile. For to this this point, UFC and other promotions like Bellator have embraced and understood the engagement value of sports gambling.
“The UFC has been on the forefront of sport wagering content,” Jason Simbal, vice president of risk management for CG Technology, told Sports Manage. “They chased it by including chances on the websites on telecasts. Along with the announcers will mention the gambling favorites throughout the conflicts. Also they have their own produced betting show that airs before each pay-per-view on UFC Fight Pass, which helps.”
The PGA Tour, National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, and National Hockey League likewise have”evolved” because the Supreme Court struck down the 1992 federal ban on full scale sports wagering outside Nevada. Every one of the commissioners of those leagues currently tout the virtues of greater engagement courtesy sports wagering, manufacture new monetization opportunities, and enjoy the ones that have come.
But while every one of these leagues, especially MLB, attempt to build new sports gambling bridges using proprietary Statcast figures, as an instance, there’s no learning curve to start gambling on combined martial arts.
“I think it comes down to it turned into a fight. And what I mean by that is that if you are managing a lot of different sports, you are handling lots of variables, the principles of football, baseball, basketball,” veteran MMA writer-reporter Damon Martin told Sports Manage. “And there’s a guttural instinct in everyone when it comes down to it.