The weekend’s “stunning defeat” of Ronda Rousey, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) superstar, has demonstrated that when it comes to betting on sports, there is no such thing as a sure winner.
Usually the majority of money wagered on any sporting event is bet on favorites, but this was not the case for Saturday’s title fight between Rousey and challenger Holly Holm. Rousey was such an overwhelming favorite that many bettors took long odds on Holm.
At the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook she opened at 14-1 but this went down to 8-1 in the weeks leading up to fight.
Michael Grodsky, a spokesperson for betting agency William Hill says he and other bet takers “definitely came out on the wrong side”. He says 96 percent of the wagers backed Holm. Although those bets represented just 28 percent of all betting money taken it, any “book paying out more than a quarter of its handle to a 13-2 underdog, loses money in bunches”.
“We needed Rousey just like we typically need Mayweather when he is a big favorite.” he says.
Holm knocked out Rousey with a well timed and executed head kick one minute into the second round of the scheduled three round bout at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia.
Cage side observers says Rousey was unconscious as she hit the floor and was taken to the hospital after the loss.
R.J. Bell, founder of handicapping website Pregame.com, says more money was put on the Rousey-Holm fight than on any of Rousey’s previous fights.
GM sports book director says the fight drew in bets totaling one-third as much as is typically wagered on an NFL game. He also says most of the money his company took in was on Holm winning. “We did not do well,” he says.
The official fight announcer and commentator Joe Rogan, described the bout as the “biggest upset” in the history of UFC.
A former boxer and kickboxer, Holm is now the first athlete, male or female, to win world titles in both boxing and UFC.