Mike Piranio is the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino Race/Sports Book Director and he has been in that position for quite some time now.
Piranio says that MMA has seen a huge surge in gambling over the years, comparable to boxing and that is partially due to the popularity of Ronda Rousey.
“I would say the Rousey run was a lot of (betting) tickets, and a lot of different interest in that,” he said to MMA Junkie. “That was really good for MMA and the UFC, obviously. She made a huge impact in the number of people (betting on MMA) – and they still come now. It’s not like they quit. If she fights again, I’m sure they’ll come back and bet it. She upped the interest in MMA for the regular sports book fan – guys who don’t follow it religiously, they know about it now.”
Rousey hasn’t competed since a 48 second torching at the hands of Amanda Nunes at UFC 207.
The sports book director also says that a lot of other big name MMA fighters have also lead to the increased gambling on MMA.
“The bigger names, it makes a huge difference in people betting and what we have to offer,” he said. "(But) part of it, to be honest with you, is MMA does it just a little bit different than boxing, where they have enough free cards. Boxing, on the good end (has) Showtime and HBO, which are good. As far as the free on regular TV, MMA keeps a lot of interest, and I think that helps them on the back end with their pay-per-view.”
The next UFC event that fans can bet on will be UFC 210, which is taking place on Saturday, April 8.