The impact from Conor McGregor’s mayhem prior to UFC 223 has been felt at the betting window.
First off, it has to be mentioned that three fights have been cancelled as a result of the attack on the bus, which we reported on earlier at MMAOddsbreaker.com. The card will continue with 10 bouts, which has been made official by the UFC. The three fights that were cancelled are below:
– Artem Lobov vs. Alex Caceres: This fight was cancelled because Lobov was part of the team involved in the bus attack. UFC president Dana White pulled him from the card, and obviously Lobov will be getting no compensation considering his alleged involvement in the attack. As for Caceres, this news obviously hurts him as he had put in a full camp and was no doubt looking forward to competing. Bantamweight Aljamain Sterling has offered to step up on short notice and up a weight class to take the fight against Caceres, but the UFC decided not to go that route There’s been no word yet as to whether or not the UFC will give him any compenstation considering he did absolutely nothing wrong, but we will see what the fallout from this is.
– Michael Chiesa vs. Anthony Pettis: This fight was cancelled because Chiesa suffered numerous facial cuts from glass shards hitting his face from a broken bus window, of which the video is readily available on social media. The original plan was for Chiesa to stay on the card, but the New York State Athletic Commission removed him due to the cuts. Also, his weight cut was affected by the incident. As for Pettis, he obviously will no longer be competing, though former WSOF standout Nick Newell offered to step up on social media and said he would take the fight on short notice. The UFC will likely re-book the Chiesa vs. Pettis fight for a future card. Again, there’s been no indication yet as to whether or not these fighters will get paid, but hopefully the UFC does the right think and gives both me their show/win/Reebok money.
– Ray Borg vs. Brandon Moreno: This cancellation came out of nowhere, but Borg allegedly suffered an eye injury from a glass particle during the bus attack, and the fight was cancelled as a result. Considering the short notice and the fact someone would have to make 125lbs tomorrow, it’s not surprising Moreno was removed from the card as well. Again, there’s been no indication these fighters will be getting paid, but the UFC should really do the right thing and pay both of them their full purses.
As a result of these three fight cancellations, a featherweight bout between Zabit Magomedsharipov and Kyle Bochniak has been elevated from the Fight Pass portion of the card to the main PPV card.
As well, the bus attack has had a visible impact on the betting lines for other fights on the card.
The line for Khabib Nurmagomedov — the alleged target of McGregor’s attack — has been dropping since news of the mayhem broke, as bettors are putting money on Max Holloway to win the lightweight title. Considering Nurmagomedov’s mental toughness, it’s hard to say how the incident will affect him, but it’s worth noting that bettors see this as a potential angle to extract some value out of Holloway.
MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas provided the following quote in regards to the impact McGregor has had on the betting lines for UFC 223:
“Never before have I seen a single individual who has had such a large impact on a card they aren’t fighting on. McGregor single-handidly caused three fight cancellations, and on top of that, since all of the ruckus broke out, a lot of betting action has come in on Holloway at a big underdog price. Bettors must be thinking Holloway is a live dog considering the impact it may have on Nurmagomedov’s focus. Of the three fights that were cancelled, Chiesa vs. Pettis was the most popular fight at the betting window. A lot of people were looking forward to betting on that fight. If there’s any light at the end of the tunnel, this incident could bring more attention to this card from a betting perspective and the sportsbooks might see more action coming in on fight day than they normally would.”