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Thursday, May 24, 2018

MMA More Popular than Boxing in Las Vegas Sports Betting

UFC 130 may have been a lackluster card Saturday evening, but there is little doubt MMA is surpassing boxing in many regards. This week we wrote that boxing lost the magic it once had and that it was surpassed by MMA. Not only does MMA put on compelling fights more frequently than boxing, not to mention cards featuring more fights of interest, but it’s also surpassed boxing when it comes to betting interest.

Mike Colber, the sports book director of Cantor Gaming, told the Las Vegas Sun this week “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 this popular.”

He’s not the only Vegas sports book rep who feels that way.

Rob Akers, assistant sports book director at the Venetian, told The Sun “I think it’s directly related to boxing’s downfall over the last few years. Pacquiao is a one-man show. He’s the only guy who can bring any handle, and people want to bet on a combat sport. They are always going to find some way to bet on one, and lately it’s been the UFC.”

That’s the exact problem — there are two names in boxing that generate serious interest, and it’s Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. Hardcore fans have interest in up-and-comers like Victor Ortiz, Amir Khan, Timothy Bradley, and Nonito Donaire, but most sports fans really only know those names. By comparison, MMA fans are interested in several fighters.

Jay Rood, the director of the MGM sports book, added that “We try to put lines on as many fights as we can because of demand. The great thing about MMA is people are going for all the fights.”

That was one of the initial points we made — each UFC card that’s put on has several fights of interest, compared to boxing where there are generally only one or two events per card that really matter. MMA still doesn’t touch boxing pay-per-view buys when it comes to the big boys fighting (e.g. Pacquiao or Mayweather), but that’s about the only argument left. It’s pretty clear that interest in MMA is higher than the interest in boxing almost across the board.

Glove touch to Steve Cofield at Cagewriter for the story

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