Golden Boys

Every sport has them. The guys who have juice. For whatever reason, they help put fannies in the seats. They generate revenue for the sport and there is always a large contingent of fans who hate the “pretty boys.” And that’s because at some point, they seem to get some preferential treatment. Maybe they get opportunities other more deserving fighters fail to receive, they win a decision or two they didn’t deserve, or the ref improperly rules in their favor a time or two.

In MMA, there is far less perceivable corruption than in most fight-sports. A PPV giant in boxing who puts half of Vegas to work every time he fights can be almost impossible to defeat on the cards. In MMA, the dark-horse gets a fairer shake. That doesn’t mean that network poster boys and anonymous fighters are treated the same, not necessarily champions–but flashy guys who get a lot of attention.

Often times, when you handicap a fight, it’s easy to identify who the “powers-that-be” want to win. A lot of times, there is no apparent choice. But when there is, it’s worth some consideration to the bettor. You might, for example, think an underdog has a really good chance to win. But if you can’t see him winning in decisive fashion, it might not be worth your wagering consideration.

Choose Advice Wisely

When trying to find worthwhile analysis on the internet, you are often times forced to sift through mountains of manure before finding a few gems. The Internet has given everyone a voice, which is good to a certain point. The flip side is that there are now hundreds of millions of people proclaiming to be experts on various topics.

Attention-getting seems to be the bigger motive than making sense. And in order to get attention, the last thing a person does is provide a balanced opinion–a thought-out position that takes both sides into consideration and acknowledges a lack of all-knowing super-power. People speak omnipotently and in absolute extremes. Everyone is either great or they suck. The future opponent they think will lose will get “smoked,” not just beat. Then they say so-and-so is a bum. Then you notice that “bum” is ranked number-three in the world. In what Bizarro world is the person who is the third-best at what they do a bum?

This is not meant to imply that there are not people in the comment section of articles or on youtube clips who know what they’re talking about. There are many and part of your heart has to go out to them. Because talking to these people can be pretty unfulfilling for a person trying to have a well-reasoned understanding of the sport. Part of being an astute bettor is knowing that nothing falls along the lines of 100% vs. 0%. Most people “discussing” MMA in venues where no qualifications are required characterize everything in two categories–100 % or 0%. You never see a comment that begins with “I’m not sure, but…” or “There’s a good chance that…”

Everything is in shades. A fighter might be slow, but he’s not 100% slow. He might just be 68% slow. A fighter doesn’t have “no chance.” He might have a 17% chance. There are many degrees used by the astute bettor. A fighter’s ground game doesn’t usually either “rule” or “suck.” The thinking-mans bettor might call it “moderately vulnerable” or “unflinchingly solid.” A guy’s takedown defense isn’t always either great or horrible. You might be inclined to be more specific and determine that his takedown defense is “shaky against big-striking shooters.” There are wise MMA minds out there, so focus on listening to them and avoid the hordes where the sport serves as just a different canvas upon which they can practice their art of arguing on the Internet.