UFC’s Lack of Sportsbooks Stars
Posted by: Charlie Smith
The action that online UFC betting fans were treated to at UFC 209 was lackluster, dull, and quite frankly unappealing. From the main card falling apart just hours before the start of the official event due to an unprofessional fighter, Khabib Nurmagomedov, failing to make weight, to the title fight of the night, sportsbook fans unanimously agree that UFC 209 was riddled with disappointments.
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Even though the title fight of the night had plenty of hype built around it, there’s no doubt that those who bet on MMA were looking forward to the co-headlining match of the night between Tony Ferguson and Nurmagomedov. This was the fight the fans wanted to see and ultimately, Nurmagomedov’s inability to take weight cuts seriously by applying a strict diet months before, resulted in the fighter needing to lose around 30 lbs. of water-weight, something that is physically impossible to do.
Nevertheless, Nurmagomedov is one of the toughest people on the planet and the fighter would not give up until he had pushed his body to the absolute limit. But everyone has their limits, and the Russian soon discovered his as he was rushed to the hospital once complications arose.
However, instead of calling the UFC’s doctors, who have a considerable amount of experience dealing with these sort of issues – as Dana White put it “This isn’t our first rodeo show”, Nurmagomedov’s team decided to take him to a local hospital in Las Vegas.
Once administered, the hospital staff began pumping Nurmagomedov full of IV’s, essentially forcing the fight to be rescheduled. Had the fighter contacted UFC doctors, they might have been able to remedy the situation and save the fight.
It can’t be said that they definitely would’ve saved the fight, but there’s a possibility. And the fact that Nurmagomedov’s team decided to go to a local hospital before contacting the UFC has led some sportsbook players to believe that the Russian was purposely avoiding Ferguson.
Now Nurmagomedov’s online UFC betting reputation is that the Russian is a pull-out artist. Nurmagomedov has missed several fights, most of the time due to a severe injury, but 209 marked the second time that the undefeated contender failed to make weight. And since Nurmagomedov observes Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim year which requires Muslims to observe strict fasting, there’s no telling if this fight will ever come to fruition.
With the co-headlining match of the night scrapped, 209 observed some of the worst numbers in online UFC betting history. This makes it blatantly obvious that the UFC is in need of some stars. However, it’s no secret that for the UFC it’s all about promoting the brand name, and not the fighter.
Some people might be led to believe that this has paid off, as the UFC’s popularity has skyrocketed in the last couple of years, culminating in the company being sold for $4 billion. However, a quick analysis will reveal that there was an underlying reason for that, and his name is Conor McGregor; the Irishman who went from being on welfare to knocking out the best in the world.
McGregor’s ability to consistent deliver Muhammad Ali-esque trash talk, and then proceed to back it up, made it impossible for sports fans across the world to refrain from tuning in. But now, with McGregor sidelined due to his upcoming child, as well as his ongoing feud with Mayweather, it’s become abundantly clear that the UFC has no superstars. They’re trying to bring GSP back into the mix, but who knows how that will end up.
In the end, UFC 209 only gave more negotiating power to McGregor. There’s no denying that the UFC needs him now more than ever.