During the heyday of The Cageside Beat, Mike and I often used to talk fight stats, and repeatedly joked that we were going to start a new site, MMAPropBets.com, to take bets on fight-related statistics like how many times Diego Sanchez would yell “Yes” on the way to the Octagon, whether Bruce Buffer would have a monochromatic wardrobe or incorporate some color, how many pounds overweight certain fighters would be – mostly useless information.
Despite our joking, fight statistics have always been something that have interested me, so the offer to read and review Fightnomics by Reed Kuhn with Kelly Crigger definitely appealed to me. I had heard about the book and wanted to see what approach Kuhn and Crigger took with the analysis.
Let me say at the outset – this is an excellent book, and a useful one; not only for fans of the sport but also for fighters and coaches. Any serious coach should add this book to their library; the information set forth about the various aspects of fighting and the success percentage of numerous techniques would be extremely useful when prepping for a fight and developing a fight plan. Also, if you are the type that likes to use evidence (namely, statistics) to back up your winning arguments, this is the book for you.
Across the 300+ pages in the book readers get breakdowns of all sorts of statistics that cover aspects of the Ultimate Fighting Championship not only in recent years but from the beginning of the promotion. Fightnomics offers a truly original presentation of the history of the UFC – by the numbers, answering questions even casual fans would ask:
- Do southpaws really have an advantage?
- Does experience beat youth?
- What submissions win the (former) Submission of the Night Bonus the most?
- What takedowns are the most successful?
- What weight division is the most exciting?
- What does the Tale of the Tape really tell you?
Kuhn’s approach to everything is analytical – it is not guesswork, it is not conjecture, it is not philosophical; his approach is based on cold, hard facts. Granted, this approach could make this book a little harder to read for the more casual fan, or even a more diehard fan with a shorter attention span, but even those with the shorter attention spans can benefit from the charts, diagrams and tables that are present throughout the book. Some of my favorites included:
- Annual UFC Fight Outcomes (from 1993-2013)
- Average Distance (Standup) Striking Accuracy
- Rate & Accuracy of Strikes by Target and Position
- UFC Fight Ending Submissions (2008 – April 2013)
- Top 10 UFC Upsets (My personal favorite)
The book also contains a very thorough and interesting breakdown of fighters by location, both internationally and nationally. Wondering what state has produced the most (or least) UFC fighters? What country? Now you can find out.
Finally, if fight betting is your thing, the book contains a thorough analysis on betting odds, finish rates by betting spread, even betting strategies. More information on the betting aspect can also be found on Fightnomics.com.
The book is available in both print and electronic formats – visit Fightnomics.com to find out where to order both versions. Looking for more useful information from Fightnomics? Check out their blog, follow them on Twitter, @fightnomics, and on Facebook.
Additionally, Reed has started previewing UFC events – I have posted his Fightnomics Preview for last weekend’s UFC 170 below. This is something fans should hope continues long into the future – not only is it informative for all fans, but videos like this are a great introduction to the sport for new fans, giving them an idea of what to expect and why. Fightnomics will be around for a while, and it is only a matter of time before UFC fighters started mentioning the study of Fightnomics as an integral part of their fight camps.