Some martial sports, such as judo, don’t attract much gambling. This is because they don’t often get much media coverage unless you already follow the sport as a dedicated fan. Much of the martial sports betting that goes on is geared towards a general audience who like to bet on other sporting events, too, such as horse racing, football and baseball.
As you probably already know, online casinos and betting sites offer a range of casino games, such as poker or roulette, as well as sports betting. Therefore, martial sports gambling has to operate in a competitive marketplace. To attract interest from the average gambler, martial sports must offer a true contest between genuine competitors, as well as something that has a bit of razzmatazz behind it. A martial sport like karate offers the former but not the latter. There again, in the case of many wrestling tournaments, the reverse is so. What are the martial sports that strike the right balance between competitiveness and showbiz that attract gamblers?
Founded as long ago as 1993, the Ultimate Fighting Championship franchise, or UFC, only really took off about 20 years ago when stricter rules were brought in. A mixed martial arts sport, UFC combined fighting disciplines drawn from jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai, wrestling, boxing and judo, among others. By the mid-2000s UFC was attracting extensive audiences – and gambling – largely because it was being regularly televised. With extensive broadcasting in North America, the UFC style of generating bouts went on to find audiences in Europe, Asia and Australia. In 2015, the TV rights to the franchise alone were said to be worth over $600 million.
The level of interest in the fighters, the way in which events were staged and the dramatic lighting effects that were sometimes employed all added to the interest. As soon as 2006, UFC had overtaken boxing in terms of takings for pay-per-view events. Shortly afterwards, it surpassed it in terms of the amount of money being gambled on it globally each year, too. Remember that UFC may be the largest mixed martial arts organisation around but there are also others, all being bet on. KSW is the leading franchise in Poland while others – such as Invicta, One FC and Bellator – all add to the worldwide betting market in martial sports.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, when the art of boxing was developing into more of a conventional sport, prizefights were still often held in gambling venues. Boxing and gambling have gone hand in hand for years whether you are talking about the amateur or professional sides of the sport. Split into weight divisions, boxing should allow for match-ups which always lead to a competitive spectacle, especially at the pinnacle of the professionals sport. Although few people would argue that boxing has produced some of the best sporting contests of all time, such match-ups are few and far between. Indeed, with the modern age’s concerns for fighter safety, some think that the glory years of the sport will never be seen again.
Perhaps that is why UFC has overtaken it in terms of the global betting market for martial sports in recent years? That said, some boxing ties come about which truly whet the appetite among general sports gamblers, such as the famous Mayweather versus McGregor fight in 2017 which almost matched the Super Bowl for the amount that was bet on it that year. When boxing creates a contest that ignites the public’s imagination, then the bets are off for how much money might be wagered. Mike Tyson’s bout with Lennox Lewis in 2002 was another that stands long in the memory for the sheer interest it generated among sports fans, too.