Two fights happened on Saturday night at UFC 229. Khabib Nurmagomedov won the first fight. No doubt about that. The second fight? It’s hard not to call that one a draw between Khabib and Conor McGregor, his opponent for the belt on Oct. 6.
If you get past the fighters, though, there’s no doubt who really won in the second fight on Saturday night. That would be Dana White and UFC. Another winner on Oct. 6? How about pay per head agents who cashed not only on the fight, but also on mega future fights.
UFC 229 Recap: Nurmagomedov Wins, But So Does UFC
The first fight turned out to go exactly as planned. Although Conor garnered some attention, Nurmagomedov entered the Octagon the favorite. McGregor valiantly fought, but Khabib submitted McGregor via rear-naked choke at 3:03 of Round 4.
If bookies had a liability heading into the fight, it most likely was on McGregor. Conor doesn’t often go into a fight the underdog. Vegas odds makers made Conor the dog. He remained the dog up until the fight. Once the first bell ran, McGregor fought as the underdog.
All sportsbooks aren’t the same, though, which is why many bookies might have taken more action on the dog McGregor than they did on Khabib. Although it turned out okay, Khabib did win the fight, bookies could have used pay per head software to temper Conor dog bettor enthusiasm. Specifically, changing the odds via the line mover, or setting max betting limits on McGregor could have been a way to temper enthusiasm.
Bookies could have also used those same per head tools to temper enthusiasm on Khabib. Some Vegas sportsbooks might have shown a liability on Khabib because the odds on the fight pretty much didn’t change once they were set.
No matter which fighter garnered more attention in your book, think about the Bettors Net tools that could have helped you manage action.
Khabib Goes Nuts…After the Fight
The second fight started right after the first fight. Fresh off a victory against Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov jumped over the Octagon fence and got into a second fight with Dillon Danis, McGregor’s jui-jitsu coach. That’s not all that happened.
As if Khabib getting into a second brawl after beating the most popular MMA fighter in the world wasn’t enough, his crew sucker punched McGregor. Suffice to say, UFC President Dana White wasn’t pleased:
“Khabib diving over [the cage] was ridiculous,” White said. “You know, you just won a great fight, you fought brilliantly, you’re about to get the belt on and people are going to respect the fact that you fought well and you won the fight. And instead, you dive over the cage and start this huge melee with Conor’s corner.”
What’s Next for Khabib?
White was upset enough to mention that UFC might strip Khabib of his championship belt. Not that it matters. Like boxing, belts are only as meaningful as the persons who wear them. Even if White strips Khabib of his championship title, he’ll remain the pound-for-pound top MMA fighter in the world.
What’s Next for Conor?
UFC’s a savvy organization. If they do strip Nurmagomedov for the after fight antics, they’ll set up a Lightweight Championship battle between, yep, Conor McGregor and either Tony Ferguson or the winner of the Dustin Poirier versus Nate Diaz fight at UFC 230 on Nov. 3. Finding a way to put a championship belt around Conor McGregor would lead to huge dollars in the Khabib vs McGregor rematch.
Future Bookie Impact – Khabib vs McGregor II
If you’re an MMA fighter, there’s not much you can do that UFC won’t forgive. Jon “Bones” Jones and Brock Lesnar routinely fail post-fight drug tests, but those two guys still get mega-fights. McGregor and his buddies tried to push over a bus. Conor still got a shot against Khabib.
The same sort of attitude happens in boxing where even though Mike Tyson bit off Evander Holyfield’s ear, Tyson continued to secure huge paydays. The old cliché holds true in both MMA and boxing events, money talks, which is why almost assuredly, without fail, per head sportsbook owners will get a chance to promote Khabib vs McGregor II.
If White can pull off a coup and put the belt around McGregor’s waist before Khabib vs McGregor II, every online bookie on the planet should thank Dana. Only MMA fans bet on MMA fights, but Khabib vs McGregor became such a massive, otherworldly UFC promotion that Khabib vs McGregor II would offer the type of action sportsbooks saw when Floyd Mayweather stepped into the boxing ring.
All per head bookies must do is use their Bettors Net tools to manage action on what’s going to be the biggest UFC promotion in history.
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