Boxing, UFC and MMA Betting Sites & Offers
Betting on boxing, or any fighting sports, is often seen by many as a sideshow to the mega sports such as football and horse racing, however when you think about it punting on the winner of a fight is a far older form of gambling than any other sports. You can easily imagine two early humans wagering a flint axe to a sheep skin on the winner of a bout.
The rise in online betting over the last 25 years coupled with newer forms of professional fighting, such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and other mixed martial arts (MMA), means you can now bet on any big fight, anywhere in the world, with most of our bookies.
With so much money sloshing around in modern day professional boxing, and UFC, you would expect to see some good betting offers and this is certainly the case. For big fights, you can now get refunds on match, round and other betting markets as well as sign up specials, free bets and more.
Odds & Offers For Upcoming Fights
Money Back, Insurance & Free Bet Offers
William Hill run all sorts of promotions for boxing, including money back and linked free bets. What they are most well known for however is price guarantees for the big fights. Hill's will often guarantee the best match or round odds out of a selection of leading bookies, making them a safe bet in most instances.
Certainly always worth visiting Willima Hill to see whats available in their promo section before betting on the fight too. If you don't have a WH account they will often run enhanced odds sign up deals too on big fights, you can find these, when available, on our home page.
You can always rely on an Irish bookie for good offers on big fights. Boylesports run several different types of promotion depending on the fight and fighters but it is common to see deals such as money back if the fight goes the distance, refund if the match up doesn't last 3 rounds and more and bet £20 on the fight get £10 free.
Do pay Boyle's a visit to see what they are running before placing any bets. All refunds tend to be up to £25.
Best Boxing, UFC and MMA Bookmakers
Boxing Betting Guide
Betting on big fights is either best done way in advance on ante-post markets or very close to the fight when the bookies are competing the most.
Outright win markets, as with most sports, offer the best value for money, both in terms of odds prices and offers. Many sites will run these lines at cost, or even a loss, to get you through the door in the hope you will then place more bets.
If you want to bet well in advance as soon as the fight is announced (fights can be announced over a year in advance) then you are best going to someone like William Hill who offer an expansive range of these bets. Remember however that odds can drift out just as easily as they can drift in and whereas ante-post betting on boxing can be very profitable if you spot the next star early, it can also be less profitable.
More popular now than ever, particularly in play. Many sites provide money back promotions for round bets, such as ‘money back if the fight goes over 6 rounds’, etc. Worth shopping around for the best prices as these vary more than the outright lines.
You can not only bet on which round a fighter will win in, you can also bet on how this will happen. For example, Fighter X in the 5th round by technical knockout.
Round bets can also be found in groups, e.g fight to end in rounds 4-6. Again you can bet on the type of decision within these groups.
Backing the fight to go the distance can also generally be round within the round betting market.
Bet on a knockout (KO), technical knockout (TKO), draw, technical draw, submission, disqualification, etc. This can be done overall or within a round.
These markets rarely provide the best value and so it is worth having accounts a few good boxing bookmakers and then comparing the lines for value. If you are looking for an offer on this type of bet then have a look at Betway.
More relevant for UFC and MMA where there are multiple fights on at the same time. If you do want to place an acca consider bookies with all sports acca insurance, bonuses or free bets.
You don’t just need to put outright result bets into these accumulators, you can also do round betting, method of victory, etc within an acca.
There are now tens, sometimes hundreds, of special markets that cover all sorts of eventualities. Some of these include whether a fighter will get a blood injury, if the boxers will try to hit each other in the weigh in; you name it, if you can think of it there will be a bet for you.
Remember with many big sites (such as Sky Bet) you can also request bets, so if you have an idea then ask for the odds. Don’t however expect these wagers to be the best value.
Boxing and MMA are two sports that can have huge variation in the maximum payout offered. If you are backing a standard football match you can be sure that the payout rate will probably be tens to hundreds of thousands, do not however assume this to be true for fighting sports.
The best bookies will pay out up to a quarter of a million on a big boxing fight. I have seen smaller bookies with caps as low as £1000. Please do check if placing either high stakes bet or small bet with big odds (e.g. a large acca).
It is rare to get live streaming of top boxing because the pay per view market is cornered by the big TV stations. You can get streaming of MMA quite often form the big broadcasters such as Unibet, Coral and William Hill.
Very occasionally Sky fights will be offered through a bookie, it may be something like ‘Bet £20+ on the fight and watch the fight for free’.
About Boxing and MMA – History, Rules & Events
A quick skim read of these pages will show you that a number of sports have come out of a different side of life than we might be used to. Darts, for example, was supposedly invented when archers needed to practice and moved indoors during the winters months. Horse racing can trace its origins back to the time of the Crusades. Yet no sports are as pure and as close to what they’ve always been as boxing. The pugilistic enterprise sees two people go head-to-head with nothing but their fists and their wits, quite literally seeing which one of them can punch the hardest and move the quickest. It is a battle that requires nothing but the gloves that the fighters wear on their hands, going up against each other with little else but tactical plans and a desire to win.
There are some sports that reflect the nature of boxing in their own way. Singles tennis, for example, feels a lot like boxing in the way that the two competitors go up against each other and slog it out until one of them wins. The same sort of thing can be said about the aforementioned darts, though it’s fair to say that the competitors in that sport don’t need to show the same sort of physical attributes. Then there are the variations of boxing like Mixed Martial Arts, with the Ultimate Fighting Championship now becoming as, if not more, of a mainstream sport. Here we’ll have a look at the history of boxing and the manner in which the UFC came to be as a more all-encompassing alternative. As they are two different and distinct sports, we’ll split everything into two to cover them both.
History Of Boxing
Boxing in its purest form is one of the oldest sports ever known to exist. There are depictions of boxers from a Sumerian sculpture that dates back to the third millennium Before Common Era. Similar reliefs have been found in the countries that formed Mesopotamia, suggesting that it wasn’t just a fluke that the Sumerian ones appears to show two people fighting with gloves on. It was a well-established sport by the time that the Ancient Greeks introduced the 23rd Olympiad. It had developed into being a fight to the death by Roman times, with the sport disappearing almost entirely after the fall of the Roman Empire. It was replaced for a time by fencing, given that most men would carry swords with them. When that ceased to be the case the interest in boxing as a sport returned to surface and in 1681 the 2nd Duke of Albemarle, Christopher Monck, organised Britain’s first official boxing bout when his butcher and butler fought for a prize.
To begin with, the world of boxing was a wild one. There were no real rules, as such, meaning that the competitors went head-to-head in brutal fashion, with eye-gouging, head butting and chokes all fair game. It wasn’t until Jack Broughton introduced some rules in 1743 that the protection of the boxers was even given due consideration. The rules allowed boxers to drop to their knee at any moment in the fight and the thirty second recovery period would start then – and advantage that boxers finding themselves up against it would no doubt love nowadays. It was seen as ‘unmanly’, however, and it didn’t last long until it was removed from the rules. The biggest change to boxing occurred in 1867 when the Marquess of Queensberry introduced his own rules for an amateur championship held in London. There were twelve rules, including the size of the ring and the introduction of boxing gloves.
It still took time for the Queensbury Rules to be seriously taken on, with the first official champions under the rules being “Gentleman Jim” Corbett in 1892. That’s mainly because it was seen as an illegitimate and illegal sport in the first parts of its modern existence, not really gaining the necessary legitimacy until it was included as a sport in the Olympics in 1908. From there, it really take off to become a global phenomenon. Major fights in the modern era are often broadcast on Pay Per View channels and can earn the participants hundreds of millions of pounds in revenue. It has become a well organised and maintained sport in its own right, with four different sanctioning bodies that boxers can fight under.
History Of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)
Mixed Martial Arts, of MMA as it’s better known, can also date its history back thousands of years. The days of the Ancient Greeks there was something called Pankration, a sport that involved a similar mix of striking and grappling that competitors in the sport nowadays might use. It came out of several other sports, including boxing and wrestling, and involved fighters going at it until someone submitted or could not continue. There were variations on the same theme in China, with Japan, India and Ancient Egypt all having versions of their own. Yet the sport as we understand it today finds its history in the mixed-style contests that took place in Europe and Japan in the early days of the twentieth century.
In terms of the popularisation of a mixed way of fighting, little has done as much for it as Bruce Lee and his Jeet Kune Do system. The martial arts film star felt that the best fighters didn’t have one discipline, but instead adopted their style depending on who they were fighting and the circumstance of the battle. Regulated competitions of Mixed Martial Arts came into being in the United States in the 1980s, with the first being the Tough Guy Contest that occurred in Pennsylvania on the 20th of March at the start of the decade. The state of Pennsylvania soon outlawed such competitions, but the idea had formed and in Japan an MMA discipline called Shooto came into being in 1985.
It wasn’t until the Ultimate Fighting Championship was created in America in 1993 that the sport began to be taken seriously by the Western world; particularly after a jiu-jitsu fighter named Royce Gracie submitted three challengers in five minutes to become the first champion. Those involved in the sport knew that they had hit the mainstream when two things happened. The first was in 1997 when the TV series Friends introduced a character named Pete Becker whose dream was to become the Ultimate Fighting Champion. Then, in 2006, the UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell and a former champion named Tito Ortiz had a rematch of a bout and it attracted Pay Per View customer numbers to rival boxing’s biggest matches. MMA had definitively arrived.
Boxing Rules and How To Win
The first thing to say is you don’t play boxing. It’s very much not a game, with competitors putting their lives at risk every time that they enter the ring. There is an umpire in the ring who is responsible for ensuring that the event takes place within the rules of the game. There’s also a difference in the rules between amateur and professional versions of the sport, but for the purposes of brevity we’ll only look at professional boxing here. It’s also worth noting that the different organisations within boxing have their own rules and regulations, so if you watch a bout and think that the way it’s being played out is different to how it’s described here then you might well be right.
In essence, boxing matches take place over twelve rounds and each round lasts for either two or three minutes. Each competitor wears boxing gloves that are made form padded leather and nothing is allowed to be inside the gloves other than a boxer’s hand and any wrapping that might have been applied. Boxers punch each other and attempt to avoid the punches of their opposite number ensuring that they don’t do any of the following:
- Kick their opponent
- Strike with their elbows or forearms
- Hold the ropes
- Wrestle, hold excessively or grapple
- Hit and opponent when they’re down
- Poke eyes with thumbs
- Head Butt
There are usually three scorers who watch the fight and ‘score’ it according to the rules of the game. Should both boxers still be fighting at the end of the bout then the judges will need to make a decision on the winning fighter. Another way for a boxer to win is by Technical Knockout, or TKO. This is where it is felt by the match referee that a competitor cannot continue and ends the bout. A fight can also be ended by the boxer’s own team by throwing in the towel if they think that their competitor is in trouble, or by the fighter being physically knocked out and rendered unconscious.
MMA Rules and How It Works
Mixed Martial Arts rules depend entirely on the competition that’s taking place. Again, for the purposes of ease, we’ll only look at the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Fights in that discipline typically last for three rounds, with Championship matches being extended to five rounds. Each round lasts for five minutes and there’s a one minute rest period between them. Though the sport is often seen as one of ‘No Holds Barred’ in terms of the rules, that’s not actually true. Fighters are not allowed to gouge, fish hook and opponent’s mouth or strike the groin area. The idea that there are no rules comes from the fact that the following ways of striking each other are allowed:
All of those things can be done above and below the belt, with the exception of the aforementioned groin area. As with boxing, there are judges who score bouts and their opinion on how they’ve worked out are needed if one fighter fails to get the other to submit during the match. The number one criteria considered is ‘overall damage’, with the effectiveness of strikes and grapples considered next. Points are given out as ten to the winner of the round and nine or less to the loser. Both the effective attacking of an opponent and the effective defensive work is taken into account when fights take place.
Major Boxing Competitions and Events
|Competition||Most Successful Man||Most Successful Woman|
|IBF World Title||Evander Holyfield (Heavyweight)||N/A|
|World Boxing Association World Championship||Evander Holyfield (Heavyweight)||Cecilia Comunales (Lightweight)|
|World Boxing Council Championship||Lennox Lewis (Heavyweight)||Jackie Nava (Super Bantamweight)|
|The World Boxing Organization World Champion||Wladimir Klitschko / Herbie Hide (Heavyweight)||Daniela Romina Bermúdez (Bantamweight)|
As mentioned before, boxing comes under the jurisdiction of numerous different governing bodies, with the following being the major competitions in each discipline:
- The International Boxing Federation World Title Fight – The IBF was formed in 1983 and is one of boxing’s four main governing bodies. It certifies fighters in seventeen different weight classes for both male and female boxers.
- World Boxing Association World Championship – The WBA was formed as the National Boxing Association in 1921 and rebranded as the World Boxing Association in 1962. It also classifies into seventeen different weight categories for men, though does so for only sixteen for women. Because the WBA recognises champions from the WBC, WBO, and IBF, boxers with titles in more than one title are called ‘Super Champions’.
- World Boxing Council Championship – Founded in 1963, the World Boxing Council was initially established by eleven different countries including the United States the UK. The title is considered to be amongst the most prestigious in the sport and the belt contains the flags of the one hundred and sixty-one nations that are now a part of the council.
- The World Boxing Organization World Champion – Founded in 1988, the WBO was the brainchild of a group of Puerto Rican and Dominican businessmen who disagreed with the rules at an annual convention of the WBA that was held in Venezuela that year. Boxers who fit a certain criteria are declared to be ‘Super Champions’.
Boxing is a confusing sport to look at the winners of the various titles on account of the fact that there are so many different weight categories. It’s also worth bearing in mind that fighters will sometimes compete for the belt of multiple different organisations at the same time.
A boxer could have won the IBF and WBA titles in two separate fights but lose to another boxer in one fight and that other boxer would take both titles. Nevertheless, the table above looks at the boxers that have won the titles of each organisation the most times.
MMA Major Competitions and Events
|Competition||Most Successful Man||Most Successful Woman|
|Ultimate Fight Championship||Randy Couture||Ronda Rousey (Bantamweight)|
|Bellator||Michael Chandler||Julia Budd (Featherweight)|
|British Association of Mixed Martial Arts||Mark Godbeer||N/A|
|Maximum Fighting Championship||Anthony Hamilton||N/A|
As mentioned before, there are numerous different organisations that host Mixed Martial Arts fights. The chief amongst these is the Ultimate Fighting Championship, but it’s not the only one. Here’s a quick look at each of the different organisations involved in the world of MMA:
Ultimate Fighting Championship – Unquestionable the organisation that helped take the sport into the mainstream, the UFC is based in Las Vegas and was formed in 1993. It as well known for the women’s side of the sport as the men’s, with Ronda Rousey being one of the best-known names in the industry anywhere in the world. As with boxing, UFC is fought across numerous different weight categories.
Bellator – Considered to be the main competitor to the UFC, Bellator was formed in 2008 as the Bellator Fighting Championship. Based in California, this is a subsidiary of the media conglomerate Viacom. It says a lot about the aim of the organisation that the different years of fights are referred to as ‘Seasons’.
British Association of Mixed Martial Arts – BAMMA was founded in 2009 and was intended to be the UK’s answer to the UFC. The first event was held in London in June of its formative year, with bouts televised live and hosted in various locations around the country.
Maximum Fighting Championship – The MFC is Canada’s answer to America’s UFC and is based in Edmonton, Alberta. It was founded in 2001 and relaunched in 2012, though at the time of writing the organisation’s future remains uncertain. There have been no fights since 2014 and it was put up for sale two years later. As with the others, MFC involves fights in numerous different weight categories.