UFC events perfectly timed for betting operators, according to exec

Gambling Insider spoke exclusively with Chris Bellitti, VP of Corporate Communications at the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) about the rise and popularity of MMA betting and, in particular, UFC betting. The full feature will be available to read in our July/ August issue of Gaming America.

Mixed martial arts, similar to gambling, has a somewhat longstanding origin and is something that has been practised for many years across the globe.

UFC was introduced in 1993 as a cage fighting sport, where different fighting styles went up against each other in hybrid-style matchups. Most martial arts tend to have rules, but MMA or ‘no-holds barred’ fighting has no rules other than no eye gouging, no crotch shots and no biting.

Although UFC and MMA betting still falls short of a main revenue source for many major operators, its popularity is growing.

Bellitti said: MMA betting has seen meaningful growth in the past five years and with UFC’s status as the world’s premier MMA organisation, we are continuing to see growth in this space.”

UFC events in general – and particularly main card events – take place later in the evening,sports betting which is an opportune time for betting operators – Chris Bellitti

Over the past 30 years since the UFC launched, it has accumulated over 700 million fans worldwide, with more than 40 events on a year-round slate and a roster of fighters from over 75 countries. This means the UFC has no off-season and covers multiple markets and time zones.   

According to research conducted by Nielsen in 2018, UFC fans have a higher propensity to bet than the average global consumer. More often than not, for European UFC fans, main card events are often aired at 3am (GMT), creating a demand for betting operators that isn’t usually there at that time.

Bellitti added: “UFC events in general – and particularly main card events – take place later in the evening, which is an opportune time for betting operators, when other core sports have typically ended. Additionally, UFC’s roster of fighters from more than 75 countries helps generate a truly engaged global audience who are interested in betting on local stars.”

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