Why MMA events are hosted at casinos

UFC
Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

As a sport, MMA is a relative newcomer. While a lot of different sports have hundreds of years of history, MMA actually only started in the 1990s. It has grown an incredible amount since then. 

If you have followed MMA events, even from afar, you will probably know that there is a long association between the sport and Las Vegas, where it is headquartered, and as such there is a link with gambling. This link to casinos is very strong and dates back to the early days of the UFC and MMA.

The UFC began before online casinos and apps were available. The likes of Rizk casino had not yet come to the market and offered players another way to gamble.

The timing was perfect for them to take advantage of all the people who were attending Vegas for gambling, and MMA remains popular in the area to this day.

Vegas and the long history with combat sports

Las Vegas is the home of casino gambling in the US. As such, it has been the ideal location for a lot of fights to take place in the country, maximizing the revenue that can be gained from those fights. People love to gamble on combat sports such as boxing. 

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Bleacher Report has published a really interesting guide to the history of boxing in Las Vegas.

When MMA became popular and the UFC began to take off, people weren’t so accepting of the sport. It was seen as brutal, and certain venues were not willing to put on these events. Fortunately for the organizers, Las Vegas had a long history of combat sports and some of the venues in the city and on the strip were willing to allow the sports to go ahead.

Even today, people are shocked at how brutal the sport can be. Recently, Mark Zuckerberg’s wife had to turn away as she couldn’t watch a fight taking place in Vegas.

The relationship between specifically Las Vegas and the UFC has continued to grow and the T-Mobile Arena is a home for the sport now. UFC President Dana White recently spoke about the Octagon being brought to this 20,000-person arena: “Las Vegas has always been the home of UFC, and after more than a decade it is awesome to now have a historic venue deal in the Fight Capital of the World to make it official.”

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While MMA originally had an underground feel and an underground following, it quickly shot to prominence and the sport has even held events at the huge MGM Grand Garden Arena. The MGM Grand is an iconic casino, and it is one of the best known in the whole world.

MMA and gambling

If you watch MMA, like a lot of other sports, you will see that it is intrinsically linked with gambling. People love to gamble on combat sports, and there is almost always an underdog in MMA fights. As time has gone on, online casinos as well as in-person casinos have offered more markets relating to UFC.

MMA has a lot of huge sponsorships with gambling brands that have helped the sport to grow through the years and get to the point it is at today, and it makes sense that it would base both the brand’s offices and their fights within Las Vegas, still known as the gambling capital of America, or even the world.

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Of course, nowadays, you can place your bets on the MMA fight or UFC event wherever you are via your phone, but only if gambling is legal in that area. There was a time where Las Vegas would have been the only real option for those wanting to place big-money bets on the fight. Even today, it wouldn’t make sense for MMA events to be at a location where gambling is not allowed.

Summary

MMA events will continue to be hosted throughout the world as they have grown, but UFC is always going to be linked closely with Las Vegas. Even the new venues opening to provide a specific space for MMA events will have sportsbooks and be linked to local casinos, meaning that fans of UFC can continue to enjoy the atmosphere of a big casino fight night.