At UFC 235 this past weekend in the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, veteran welterweight fighter Robbie Lawler nearly pounded former Olympic wrestler and 2/1 favorite Ben Askren into a first-round TKO success. However Askren, making his first UFC look, managed to survive Lawler’s early onslaught of head and body shots, and about two minutes after, at 3:20 in the initial round, completed the comeback, ending it with a bulldog choke.
Respected referee Herb Dean saw Lawler’s arm dangle limp while he tried to extricate himself from the choke, causing Dean to halt the fight in what goes down as a entry win for Askren. While controversial and unlucky for Lawler (and his backers), it was understandable, and the popular Lawler quickly turned from aggrieved to praising Dean and expressing his own understanding (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 exciting, and indeed controversial at times, same as each sport. Certain occasions, even to get a somewhat market game now in its first year of a supply deal on ESPN platforms, can create the gambling handle seen in a good NFL game.
“Everyone knows a struggle”
Exposure to more mainstream audiences via ESPN and FOX Sports 1, via an earlier deal, proceeds to raise MMA’s profile. For for this point, UFC and other promotions such as Bellator have long embraced and understood the participation 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, informed Sports Manage. “They chased it by adding odds on the websites on telecasts. And the announcers will mention the betting 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 virtues of increased involvement courtesy sports wagering, manufacture new monetization opportunities, and enjoy the ones that have come.
But while every one of those leagues, particularly MLB, attempt to build new sports gambling bridges using proprietary Statcast figures, as an example, there’s no learning curve to start betting on mixed 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 other sports, then you are dealing with a lot of variables, the nuances of soccer, baseball, basketball,” veteran MMA writer-reporter Damon Martin told Sports Handle. “And there is a guttural instinct in everyone when it comes down to it.

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