The MMA Gamble: Mixed Risks that Mixed Up the McGregor vs Khabib Fight

As the dust settles and Conor’s blood wiped clean from the cage, cue the influx of video angles and opinions adding to the analysis of the events after the match, more so than during. Was this all really as shocking as it transpires? Did it dent the MMA game or boost its profile? We going take one giant step back and assess what went on before, during and after, highlighting a few key points to then ask if McGregor was worth the gamble or was Khabib the most obvious of winners before the weigh-in began.

Are There Signs of a Champ?

So before it all went mental asylum crazy in Vegas during the UFC 229 event, the matchup was already cloaked in high-jinx and shenanigans. Conor McGregor was given a slapped wrist in court following a brawl and assault of a bus (Khabib inside untouched). In retaliation, Khabib and his ‘crew’ went hunting McGregor down and came back empty-handed and carrying a slight exhaustion for their efforts.

Before the fight, the odd for whom would lift the belt where somewhat to close to call. We managed to find information about it on the specialised gambling website, which provides articles not only connected to the casino universe (such as the rules of games like roulette, blackjack or slot machines) but also to betting.  Some bookmakers we found there were putting Khabib at 7/2 and McGregor at 13/8. If anything was clear the bookies saw this as a very open fight. At the time the Khabib win by submission was 4/1, yet McGregor to win by submission was a huge 33/1.

So why so close on straight winning odds and yet a huge difference in the submission option?

If they believed it would have been more unlikely for Khabib to tap-out then why not a more depleted odd marker for his win.

Were the signs there all along about how this fight was going to tail out?

McGregor hadn’t fought since his Mayweather boxing match that was two-years ago, prior to that the last UFC fight was Alvarez in November 2016 and Diaz 3 months prior, both wins for the Irishman. In this time here is how Khabib spent his time.  Johnson – win, Barboza – win, Iaquinta – win, taking his record to 27-0-0. McGregor came to the fight 21-3-0. Seems the Southpaw stance is lacking against the Orthodox.

Never Gamble on a Showman

He who shouts more is looking to profit more, the tale stretches long into history. If you’re not strong in the arena of performance, then you may as well sell out the show and take the money after to heal the wounds.

The concern around McGregor is that the showman is just that, a great ambassador of the sport when in the octagon (not so much outside.) Arguably has a mouth that’s too big for his own good but it exposes the sport to new interests.  

With only 10 weeks of training and a seeming lack of focus and bad tactical approaches, the 4/1 call for Khabib was perhaps not the smartest odds to take but the obvious. He’s never been knocked out and all losses were through submission and Khabib has never lost but more importantly not a showman.

The signs will show again in the next main event so bear in mind the sign and don’t go betting on a rematch anytime soon.

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