While the battle of the ages that was the Mayweather-McGregor fight took place back in August, we’re still wrapping our heads around the massive scope of associated betting activity. As expected, the total sums wagered on the fight were vast, and dealt and cut like a Texas Hold’Em deck across every imaginable aspect that could’ve possibly taken place in Las Vegas’s T-Mobile Arena. And though the bar rises for betting and general hype with every high-profile bout, this one included, the trend has exploded into the stratosphere in recent years thanks to social media and the internet fanning flames 24/7.
A Record Amount of Benjamins on the Books
And then there’s the money. Loads of it. With ticket prices costing thousands of dollars, several million pay-per-view (PPV) buys, and ginormous eight-digit purses at stake, you know the betting numbers are through the roof.
While murky reporting on total bets taken makes it’s difficult to determine the exact amount of money wagered on the MayMac bout, we’ll call their bluff. Experts suggest around $70 million was likely wagered on the fight with Vegas sports books.
This is a nice uptick from the estimated $50 million bet on the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight in 2015 and reflects a booming business for bookmakers. Boxing is a risky business for fighters, and fans who share in the risk by betting on a match often experience the same mental stimulus, or “rush” as found in the brains of high-stakes poker players.
The Big Money is a Big Split
Simply put, MayMac was not your dollar-chip ante at a Friday night game of Omaha hi-lo. Beneath these numbers lies an interesting contrast on who the bets were placed on. Mayweather, who was considered the smart bet and the heavily-favored contender during the run-up to the fight, accounted for roughly 5% of the tickets while 80% of the pot rode on him. A surge of betting activity spilling into the system from McGregor’s UFC fanbase is cited for his control of the tickets while the overwhelming odds for Mayweather explain how he owned the money side.
Of course, if McGregor had won, a bet on him would’ve paid out handsomely, but taking Mayweather in this fight was no reason to keep a dour poker face. He was about as close to a “certain thing” as you’ll ever see in sports betting.
In other words, the big spenders who spent big on Mayweather were still well rewarded for their efforts. Several bets in excess of $1 million were placed on Mayweather, each netting the wagerer in the neighborhood of $200,000 in profit. Hey, some of us go to Vegas and are lucky to walk away from the poker table with a few extra bucks, but obviously, the high rollers have bigger paydays in mind!
Oddsmakers Lay the Cards Down with Fun Props
Special mention goes out to the oddsmakers for looking beyond the ring and crafting some very colorful betting scenarios. Seriously, how do we get this job? A few of our favorite just-for-fun props on the line were these binaries:
How long will it take for Demi Lovato to sing the national anthem? The over/under was 1:54.
Total Donald Trump tweets on the day of the fight? Over 6.5 was the favorite.
Will McGregor throw a kick in the match? No was the favorite, but it was on everyone’s minds.
And the absolute best…Will Lil Wayne wear a shirt during the fight walkout?
Surprisingly, yes was the favorite. We’d expect Weezy to show up shirtless to even the World Series of Poker main event, let alone a prize fight!
As Mayweather bows out of the ring as the first fighter to surpass the elusive $1 billion mark in career earnings, the question remains as to whether there are personalities in the ranks large enough to challenge the dollar amounts “Money” brought into orbit. McGregor certainly has the stuff if he continues to box, but the magic of these two forces combining may stand as the proverbial highest stakes poker tournament in Vegas for a quite a while. We’ll let you know when we see such a perfect storm on the horizon.