At UFC 235 last weekend in the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, veteran welterweight fighter Robbie Lawler nearly pounded former Olympic wrestler and 2/1 favourite Ben Askren into a first-round TKO success. However Askren, making his first UFC appearance, managed to endure Lawler’s early onslaught of body and head shots, and about two minutes later, at 3:20 in the first round, completed the comeback, ending it with a bulldog choke.
Respected referee Herb Dean watched Lawler’s arm dangle limp while he attempted to extricate himself from the choke, causing Dean to stop the fight in what goes down as a submission win for Askren. While contentious and unfortunate for Lawler (along with his backers), it was clear, 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 betting, but combined martial arts offers something different, in some ways much better and more exciting, and indeed controversial occasionally, same as every game. Certain events, even for a somewhat niche sport now in its very first year of a supply deal on ESPN platforms, can create the betting 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, continues to increase MMA’s profile. To get for point, UFC and other promotions like Bellator have embraced and understood the engagement value of sports betting.
“The UFC has been on the forefront of sports wagering content,” Jason Simbal, vice president of risk management for CG Technology, informed Sports Manage. “They embraced it by adding chances on the websites on telecasts. Along with the announcers will mention the betting favorites throughout the fights. Also they have their personal produced betting show that airs before each pay-per-view on UFC Fight Pass, which assists.”
The PGA Tour, National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, and National Hockey League alike have”evolved” since the Supreme Court struck down the 1992 national ban on full scale sports wagering outside Nevada. Each of the commissioners of those leagues currently tout the virtues of greater engagement anyhow sports wagering, fabricate new monetization opportunities, and delight in those that have already come.
But while every one of these leagues, especially MLB, attempt to build new sports gambling bridges with proprietary Statcast characters, as an instance, there’s no learning curve to begin gambling on combined martial arts.
“I think it comes right down to it turned into a struggle. And what I mean by that is that when you are managing a lot of other sports, you are dealing with a lot 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.
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