FanDuel Sportsbook Among Operators Getting Most Out Of Michigan Bettors In Boxing, MMA

Written By Nolan Bianchi on October 22, 2021 - Last Updated on October 26, 2023
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Everyone loves a good promo. But whether it’s a risk-free bet or boosted odds, nothing has excited sports bettors in Michigan more when it comes to boxing and UFC gambling than an immersive betting experience.

There’s one sportsbook that stands out among the rest: FanDuel.

Michigan the top UFC betting market in the USA for FanDuel

The Great Lakes State ranks as the No. 1 state for boxing gambling through FanDuel Michigan, and has the fourth-highest handle in UFC.

For perspective, sports betting totals in Michigan rank in the top 5 states through DraftKings Sportsbook for boxing and UFC — but can’t hold a torch to New Jersey’s handle. Michigan ranks 8th for UFC and 11th for boxing through BetMGM Sportsbook and is “in the middle of the pack” through PointsBet Sportsbook.

FanDuel’s secret sauce is actually rather simple. They’ve managed to use their brick-and-mortar operation at MotorCity Casino to attract customers, give them a viewing experience they can’t get anywhere else, and keep them coming back time and time again.

Boxing’s popularity in Michigan has a lot to do with the atmosphere on Fight Night that we put together at the FanDuel Sportsbook at MotorCity Casino,” FanDuel spokesperson Kevin Hennessy said. 

“Sportsbooks are electric on fight nights. It’s a great experience for a world-class fight like (Deontay) Wilder vs. (Tyson) Fury or a star-studded UFC card. Fight nights are the nights when the retail experience brings sports betting to life.”

Celebrity boxers infuse new interest in betting action

After years of UFC starting to run away with being combat sports’ biggest attraction, boxing has started to make a comeback. Celebrity fighters such as Jake Paul have brought a significant influx of cash flow to boxing gambling, and that’s helped tick interest upward in the sport as a whole. 

Conor McGregor is definitely the most popular fighter,” said PointsBet’s Michael Korn, “but this year, the rise of Jake Paul has made many people and bettors more interested in boxing. Jake Paul events will attract more than Fury-Wilder, which shows you something about the popularity of betting on the sport.”

Although McGregor may be the biggest draw for bettors, the UFC as a whole does a far better job than boxing when it comes to garnering interest in whole fight cards. On a week-to-week basis, both men and women’s fights get consistent play.

The same does not hold true for boxing.

“Even if it’s a secondary event, I don’t think the women take a backseat to the men when it comes to UFC fighting,” said DraftKings director of race and sportsbook operations Johnny Avello.

“Now, if it’s a middle-of-the-road event mixed in the card, it’ll do the same as any men’s event that’s kind of mixed in the middle.”

UFC-to-boxing ratio explains some fighters’ moves to MMA

You can start to see why someone such as Flint boxer Claressa Shields, who holds little national name value when compared with the in-ring accomplishments she’s mounted, would look to make the leap to mixed martial arts.

Shields centered her brand around fighting against inequality between men and women in boxing, and had the resume to back it up. She was the fastest triple-division champion in boxing history at the age of 24. In March (by then 25), she became the first world champion boxer to hold undisputed titles in two weight divisions at the same time. 

Shields’ second mixed martial arts fight will take place Oct. 27 with the Professional Fighters League. And although part of the reason for her jump to MMA could be because she’s simply looking for a new challenge, that’s also where the money is.

BetMGM has taken seven times the amount of bets on UFC as it has on boxing in the last year alone.

“Women’s boxing in general has never really been a big attraction,” DraftKings’ Avello said. “But UFC has been. Why is that? I don’t know. I don’t know if women’s boxing was ever promoted that heavily, whereas we know that UFC women has.”

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Nolan Bianchi

Nolan Bianchi is a Detroit-based freelance journalist covering the Lions, Red Wings and everything in between. He is the former host of the Locked On Red Wings hockey podcast, still collects sports cards, is a published playwright and is a harsh critic of sandwiches.

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