At UFC 235 last 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. However Askren, making his first UFC look, managed to endure Lawler’s early onslaught of head and body shots, and about two minutes after, at 3:20 in the initial round, finished the comeback, finishing it with a bulldog choke.
Respected referee Herb Dean saw Lawler’s arm limp while he attempted to extricate himself from the choke, causing Dean to halt the struggle in what goes down as a entry win for Askren. While controversial and unfortunate for Lawler (and his backers), it was clear, and also the popular Lawler immediately turned from aggrieved to praising Dean and expressing his own comprehension (transcript here.)
The NFL is the king of U.S sports gambling, but mixed martial arts provides something different, in some ways better and more exciting, and really controversial at times, like every sport. Certain occasions, even for a somewhat market sport now in its first year of a supply deal on ESPN platforms, can generate the gambling handle seen in a good NFL game.
“Everyone understands a struggle”
Exposure to more mainstream audiences via ESPN and FOX Sports 1, via an earlier deal, proceeds to raise MMA’s profile. To get to this point, UFC and other promotions like Bellator have embraced and understood the engagement value of sports betting.
“The UFC was on the forefront of sports wagering content,” Jason Simbal, vice president of risk management for CG Technology, informed Sports Handle. “They chased it by adding chances on the websites on telecasts. And the announcers will mention the gambling favorites throughout the conflicts. They also have their personal produced gaming show which 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-fledged sports wagering outside Nevada. Every one of the commissioners of these leagues currently tout the merits of greater engagement courtesy sports wagering, manufacture new monetization opportunities, and enjoy the ones that have come.
However, while each of those leagues, especially MLB, attempt to build new sports betting bridges with proprietary Statcast characters, as an example, there’s no learning curve to start gambling on combined martial arts.
“I think it comes down to it being a struggle. And what I mean by that is that if you are dealing with a lot of different sports, then you’re dealing with lots of variables, the nuances of soccer, baseball, basketball,” veteran MMA writer-reporter Damon Martin told Sports Manage. “And there is a guttural instinct in everybody when it comes down to it.
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