Questions Over MMA / UFC Gambling Addiction

Just days before UFC 280, Dana White and his Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell issued a statement that shocked a number of fighters. It wasn’t a last minute change to the main card, but a ban on a beyond-the-octagon activity that is popular among many MMA fighters:

“In order to assist our athletes in understanding their obligations under the laws of the majority of states in which sports betting is permitted, and in further support of these integrity measures, UFC has incorporated a wagering prohibition into the UFC Athlete Conduct Policy expressly prohibiting athletes from wagering on any UFC match.”

YAHOO Sports

That’s right, UFC fighters can no longer bet on any UFC sanctioned events. It was a move made to protect the integrity of the organization. It theoretically removes questions as to whether or not a fighter, bout, or officiator is influenced by sportsbook money movement.

However, UFC betting is by no means being kicked out of the octagon. Fighters are still allowed to take sponsorship deals with betting sites. Keep in mind that some of these sponsors pay their fighters to post their predictions. This leads us to the focus of this article – MMA / UFC gambling addicts.

Despite this recent move from the UFC to keep fighters from betting on events, critics state that the risk of gambling problems amongst its loyal fan base persists. MMA betting is alive and well, and with the proliferation of online sports betting across the USA, access is more wide spread than ever. But is this more of a concern that it is with the fanbase of any other sport? It may be if the typical MMA fan is more predisposed to gambling. Let’s review.

Why Gambling Disorder is a Concern for Some MMA Fans and Where to Get Help

Potential Predisposition to Gambling Disorder

Data shows that the typical MMA fan is male of an average age range between 25 and 44 years old. This directly aligns with the online sports betting demographic which has shifted significantly ever since the U.S. Supreme Court lifted the ban in 2018.

Furthermore, research has found that those with more risk-seeking personalities are drawn to watching MMA and choose to watch the sport more often than other events. Data consistently shows that people with risk-seeking personalities are also predisposed to gambling. What’s interesting about the thrill-seeking draw, is that it’s not really about the brutality of the bouts:

“It’s not necessarily the violence that many combat fans are attracted to. A survey of attendees at an amateur MMA event found that the drama of the occasion was a stronger pull. In many sports, the most the competitors have to lose is their pride, whereas fighters and pugilists are quite literally putting their bodies, and sometimes even their lives, on the line. From a spectator’s perspective, the greater the stakes, the more exciting the drama.”

BBC Science Focus

It’s within the four words “the greater the stakes that we can draw a direct line between MMA fans and a potential predisposition to gambling disorder.

Correspondingly, online and brick & mortar gambling operators alike sponsor MMA fighters disproportionately more than athletes from other sports. Some leagues, such as the NBA (for now) prohibit athletes from endorsing or promoting any business that offers wagering altogether. As mentioned above, the UFC has made no move to ban its fighters from promoting sportsbooks. Their already vulnerable fans are subsequently exposed to marketing messages about gambling more than they would be while watching most other sporting events. Further, fans can take immediate action (sign-up, deposit, and wager) with an online sportsbook while watching UFC PPV from the comforts of their sofa.

Need Help?

If you are worried that you may be addicted to MMA / UFC betting, we can help.

Round 1: Take Our Gambling Addiction Quiz

The first step is to take our gambling addiction quiz to establish how MMA/UFC betting is affecting your life. it takes less than 5-minutes to answer a few questions. You will then receive an instant assessment of your gambling habits and whether they are cause for concern.

Round 2: Book Your FREE Consultation

If the online quiz suggests that you have a MMA/UFC betting problem, professional support is recommended. At Kindbridge, we offer specialized counseling for gambling addiction that’s accessible, affordable and convenient. Receive personalized treatment from a fully-licensed therapist in the comfort of your home.

Book a free 15-minute consultation so we can assess you needs and recommend a plan of action.