Mixed martial arts and casinos have a long-standing relationship which goes back to 1993 at the start of the UFC. When multiple UFC events were being hosted at casinos, the trend caught on and has continued ever since, expect now they are multi-million-dollar events at some of the most prestigious casinos in the world.
In the past, MMA had a bad rap, mainly due to the violence associated with the sport. Because of the sports’ many controversies, early MMA events were hosted at Native American casinos as a way to avoid the banning of the sport. However, through the years, MMA has transformed from a spectacle into a legitimate and respected sport.
Gambling and Sport Goes Hand-in-Hand
Gambling and sports have always served each other well. People bet on almost every sport being played professionally, from horse racing to soccer, tennis, golf, snooker and yes, MMA. While casinos and the sport of MMA continues to enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship, online casinos have joined the party by sponsoring the UFC and MMA fighters.
Whether you are a fan of the sport or gambling, casinos hosting MMA fights seems to be here to stay. MMA is one of the fastest growing sports in the world while gambling has been around for centuries. Both are great at making money and drawing crowds, so it only makes sense for this partnership to continue well into the future.
That said, let’s take a look at some of the top MMA casino venues.
The Palms Casino Resort
The Palms Casino Resort plays host to UFC fights in Las Vegas. The Palms has a long-standing relationship with the UFC; all the way back to the World Extreme Cage fighting in fact. The Ultimate Fighter Finale was played at the Palms from 2005 until 2013, making it one of the top venues for MMA fights in the USA.
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Alliance MMA, the only publicly-traded professional mixed martial arts company, signed a contract with the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood to produce multiple MMA events in 2018. The Alliance have partnered with numerous casinos for the 2018 year as it was expected to produce nearly 100 regional MMA events. Among the other casinos is Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, the Horseshoe Hammond and the Blue Chop Casino Hotel and Spa, both near Chicago. When asked about his reason for choosing the Seminole, CEO Paul K Danner commented on the long and storied history the Seminole has with hosting combat sport events.
Foxwoods Resort Casino
Foxwoods Resort Casino has hosted three major MMA events since 2014 – UFC Fight Nights, the World Series of Fighting 20 and the World Series of Fighting 24. The hotel and casino complex is one of the most popular in Connecticut and is owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. The sprawling resort covers over 9,000,000 sq. ft. and boasts six casinos with more than 250 gaming table and 5,500 slot machines.
Ocean Resort Casino
In August 2018, Oceans Resort Casino hosted the final two dates of the Professional Fighter League in its Ovation Hall. It was the first events held in the hotel since it opened in June. The league presented a format that was a first in the world of MMA fighting – featuring 72 fighters in six weight classes competing in one season, followed by a win-or-go-home postseason, and finally, a championship with six fighters competing for a $10 million prize pool.
Las Vegas The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
King of the Cage, one of the world’s premier MMA organizations, signed an agreement with Las Vegas The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in 2015 to bring MMA events to the hotel. The first event was held inside The Joint on October 17, 2015 and was broadcast live on MAVTV. The Joint has long been a popular place to hold MMA events while King of the Cage continues to add venues to host its shows around USA.