The MMA betting market is adding another player to its ranks this weekend. DraftKings Sportsbook announced a partnership with the Professional Fighters League (PFL) beginning this Friday 4/23. The PFL is a direct competitor with the UFC who is the top company producing mixed martial arts fights. DraftKings and PFL prop bets will be a major piece of this new partnership thanks to their proprietary SmartCage Technology.
For those who do not typically follow the PFL, their season begins on Friday and will debut on ESPN networks and streaming platforms. The expectation is that the PFL will provide some competition to the UFC and Bellator. The PFL is known for its life-changing prize money opportunities. Each champion at their respective weight class is awarded $1 million in prize money when they win the title.
DraftKings And PFL Prop Bets Could Revolutionize Betting
Betting on MMA can be pretty simple. There are moneyline bets, method of victory bets, and round props. However, the PFL could be ready to turn that entire system on its head. According to the DraftKings/PFL press release, DraftKings is rolling out real-time fighter data to integrate into the broadcast and betting.
The PFL uses proprietary technology to trach punch speed, kick speed, heart rate, and caloric burn. Eventually, DraftKings Sportsbook will give fans the opportunity to bet on these wild analytics. Per the press release, an example of these innovative prop bets could include, “Fans will be able to place a wafer on whether or not a fighter will land a strike exceeding 25 MPH.” It is not yet clear when DraftKings will roll out these unheard-of prop bets.
PFL CEO Peter Murray is excited for PFL’s new partnership. “Our SmartCage technology and unique season format are integral components of PFL and will enable us to offer unmatched prop bets and gaming opportunities MMA’s league is back with our season debut this Friday, April 23 in primetime on ESPN2, ESPN+, and ESPN Deportes.
The excitement from sports betting fans will surely be all over these brand-new betting opportunities.
Competition Beginning To Grow In MMA
This is a big step in the right direction for MMA. For years, fighters in the UFC have been underpaid by the biggest company in the industry. It got so bad that former UFC fighters Jon Fitch, Nate Quarry, and Cung Le are currently suing the UFC for being grossly underpaid during their time in the company. According to a NY Post article, the UFC pays its fighters just 16% of the total revenue – compared to the near 50/50 splits in all other major sports.
The PFL offering these incredible proprietary analytics is a huge move forward for the company and sport as a whole. The analytical power could be a huge reason that they got this partnership from DraftKings. A company that was hardly known three years ago is now taking steps toward becoming a major player in the MMA market.
DraftKings CBO Ezra Kuckarz exclaimed his support for MMA in the sports landscape by saying, “MMA is mainstream. The fan is young, loyal, passionate, and engaged, and PFL delivers an innovative product. We look forward to bringing a premium betting and fantasy experience to this growing audience in what is a monumental partnership for combat and the gaming industry.”