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Getting it Right But Being Wrong

MMA Betting: Getting it Right But Being Wrong

By Loot, MMA Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

When betting on MMA, we try to handicap the fight as thoroughly as possible. We take all the relevant information into consideration and try to form our best calculations as to what will happen. We just need to keep in mind that an MMA fight is not something that takes place in a laboratory, where all the variables can be controlled. It's a sport that is heavily tied-in to the human element, which can poison a lot of results and render our handicapping moot.

The officiating in MMA is a key concern among MMA betting men. It's a young sport and the parameters for referees are hardly etched in concrete. In other sports, there are certainly officiating mistakes, but there is at least a box in which they generally operate, however imperfectly. In MMA, there are still a variety of approaches. While it's getting better, it still has a wild-west undefined dynamic to it.

The referees are appointed by the various state athletic commissions. Some are good, while others are still operating in the dark as it applies to MMA. The strange thing is that even in the states where you would assume the commissions would be strong, like Nevada or California, there is still a big element of amateurism afoot.

Some refs, for example, will allow a fighter to lay on top of his opponent for an entire 5-minute round while not perceptibly advancing his position. Another referee would be far less patient in standing up the fighters. Obviously, that would be a big concern if you were betting on a striker to beat his smothering wrestler opponent. When we bet on MMA, we hope the fighters themselves are able to decide a fight's outcome on their own merit. That doesn't mean the referee isn't a key part of the equation and we need to remember as bettors that there is still an undefined aspect to MMA refereeing protocol. It's an unfortunate byproduct of a youthful sport, but how surprised can we really be when a referee gets in our way and helps make our wager a loser? It goes with the territory.

We also need to remember the importance of the judges. Imagine if there were no scoreboard in a football game and at the end of the game, the refs gather and then declare a winner. That's basically the case in MMA when bouts aren't finished by the fighters. In other sports, the officials have opinions that certainly impact the game. In MMA, the officials take it a step further by actually determining the outcome itself. That's a lot of power.

You have to take your hat off to MMA. There have certainly been some stinkers, but compared to the other top combat sport (boxing), the amount of scandals has been relatively scant. That doesn't mean the judges are all on the same page. It's still somewhat vague what judges should be looking for in a fight. With the techniques being so varied, who's to say they will ever have a consensus on what they should be valuing more than other things.

Let's say a fighter keeps his opponent controlled for much of a round. He doesn't do that much damage, but he is the fighter in charge for the most part. But then there is maybe a 45-second portion of the 5-minute round where the other guy lands some good strikes, so who wins that round? In boxing, where there is only one technique (punching), the judges have a hard enough time picking a winner. But in MMA, where you're often comparing different techniques altogether, the problems of judging a fight are more numerous.

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As bettors, we need to take a closer look at fighters who end most of their fights. We will need to take the leap-of-faith from time to time, but should exercise caution when we think a fight is likely to go the full route or that it will be close. Then, we are introducing the human element more into the equation and the three judges who may or may not have their acts together will be the ones deciding if we cash in or not.

In any event, we need to remember that over the long-run, our superior handicapping will keep us ahead. If human error decides a fight, we should theoretically have that also work in our favor, not always to our detriment. The key is to stay grounded after you did everything right in your handicapping, only to have some bizarre twist cost you a winner.

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MISC.

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