From the days of the legendary Royce Gracie and Kazushi Sakuraba to today’s greatest MMA fighters Conor McGregor and Daniel Cormier, MMA has come of age as a type of sports. Today, MMA is regarded as one of the most popular and fast-growing sports.
MMA’s growth in popularity has been highly impacted by its good relation with online gambling. The concept of online gambling has enabled people to enjoy this adrenalin-fuelled sport while making some good cash. Online gamblers who understand how to pick winners and expertly predict the fight results can earn some bucks on MMA betting.
The two industries started approximately at the same time, and they’ve grown together, helping each other to be the great industries they are today. Now both billion-dollar industries are doing well in their fields. But how did each come about?
Rise of Online Gambling
Online casinos have been around for as long as the internet. The first online casinos would require users to download their software before they start playing games. That was due to the slow internet speeds at that time.
Since then, internet speeds have grown tremendously, and online gambling has become a favorite entertainment for many people worldwide. Today, online gambling is a seamless experience. People who loved to gamble but could not visit any physical casinos for one reason or another can now gamble at the comfort of their couch without any problems any time they want.
These days, a simple search on the internet will get you millions of search results, which show how the online gambling industry has grown. And more online casinos seem to appear pretty much every day as they continue to be advertised on TV and other advertisement channels.
Rise of MMA
MMA has not been around for long. The sport can’t boast of being as old as such popular sports like Hockey and Polo that have been played since the 17th century. Despite being a recent entry, Mixed Martial Arts has grown real first and has overtaken some of the ancient sports in popularity.
Initially, Mixed Martial Arts had a bad reputation and was regarded as a barbaric sport whose intention was to maim the opponent. This derailed the prominence of the game until 2006 when John Hopkins University conducted a study to check out how dangerous it was. The study concluded there was no big risk of brain injury because fighters were not required to focus on hitting the head during the fight.
According to The New York Times, MMA is one of the safest full-contact sport. It is even safer compared to boxing. Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)’s history shows that only 17 fatalities related to mixed martial arts have been recorded so far, none of which happened in events sanctioned by the organization.
Mixed martial arts fighters are skilled in various forms of martial arts such as Karate, kickboxing, and jiu-jitsu. Most, if not all, of these fights emphasize the importance of agility, flexibility, endurance but not strength. Due to this nature, MMA has continued to grow across the globe, with its viewership increasing among different audiences day by day.
According to ProMMANow, the UFC greatest fighters like Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor have become a household name. Recently there was a fight that featured UFC’s biggest star McGregor and Boxing Champion Floyd Mayweather, which is regarded as one of the richest fighters in history.
The Relationship between Mixed Martial Arts and Gambling
Since the inception of the UFC IN 1993, several events organized by UFC have taken place in casinos. That is because Fertitta brothers, who were owners of UFC, also owned a casino. So it made sense for them to host more events at casinos.
During the early days, MMA wasn’t readily accepted by most people as it was perceived as a violent sport. According to Forbes, John McCain even tried to ban the sport once after watching the first UFC event on tape, describing it as mere “human cockfighting”.
To bypass this ban, more UFC events were held at Native American casinos. With time, however, the UFC began to collaborate with the state athletic commissions to make MMA a sport and not just a spectacle.
Sports and online gambling have always walked together since their inception. It is, therefore, logical for MMA to work closely with casinos. The relationship has become even better with the advent of more online casinos. Some casinos are getting involved directly with the sport by sponsoring UFC events and MMA fighters.
Lucian Marinescu, a partner at OnlineCasinoGems, said, “The relationship between MMA and online gambling is mutual and is expected to grow. MMA is now a good option for sports, betting which allows more people to place bets on MMA fights and thereby adding revenue to the gambling industry. As gamblers place bets, they get to learn more about the sport, look forward to beginning watching matches and get better at placing bets.”
This explains the popularity and exposure MMA is gaining from online gambling. It also shows how MMA has helped the online gambling industry to grow to be worth billions of dollars as it is now. In the future, we can expect even tighter cooperation of these two industries, with the latest tech and new payment options shaping the online gambling services and contributing to MMA games.
Online Gambling and MMA Have Helped Each Other to Get This Far
For the two industries to become so popular, they’ve had to go through various challenges. Most of them were centered around MMA having been facing the risk of being banned in some countries. Online gambling has also been subjected to many legislation challenges because it has been banned in some states.
The UFC took measures to resolve contentious issues of the fight and to turn it into a sport. These measures made the sport mainstream, giving it more exposure and therefore generating a larger audience than before.
This great relationship between online gambling and MMA is expected to continue, and we will see how far the two industries will go with each other’s help.