MMA & UFC Betting in Canada
Having emerged from the fringes of combat sport, MMA and UFC are big business these days. Both have huge followings and the events that are staged can comfortably match boxing in terms of their global audience.
The sportsbooks have quickly realised the potential of MMA and UFC too but what about Canada? What markets can Canadian bettors back and are there any countrywide restrictions in regards to MMA and UFC betting?
Biggest UFC / MMA Events to bet on
Firstly, it’s important to understand that UFC and MMA technically are the same entity and follow the same rules. UFC, or Ultimate Fighting Championship, is merely a division of MMA – Mixed Martial Arts. We’ve seen this in other disciplines such as wrestling and boxing where there are various governing bodies involved so anyone who has followed combat sports will already be very familiar with this type of formula.
UFC is based in Las Vegas and has so far promoted over 400 events. UFC 1 was the inaugural competition and this was held in Denver, Colorado, way back in 1993. Multiple editions are held each year and for the fighters involved, the UFC is the pinnacle of the sport and it provides the titles that they really want to win.
Behind the UFC events, Bellator is regarded as the second biggest MMA event in the world. The first Bellator was held in 2009 and since then, there have been over 200 numbered events leading up to July 2018.
Like its UFC counterpart, Bellator provides multiple events every year and in 2017, there were no fewer than 22 editions between numbers 170 and 191. While there are minor MMA events held across the world throughout each calendar year, UFC and Bellator dominate the schedules and the majority of betting markets will be tied to each numbered edition.
Types of MMA Bets
Anyone who has previously been involved with boxing markets will be familiar with the types of markets available for MMA fights. The most obvious of these is the straight result for any bout with bets on offer for a win for either fighter or a draw.
The first point to note here is that a draw is extremely rare in MMA and because of this, bookmakers don’t tend to offer bets on a tied fight. Therefore, for those backing the straight result, it’s a case of weighing up the qualities of both fighters and deciding who is going to win.
Beyond that straight result, there is a series of prop bets for each match-up: These will vary depending on which sportsbook is involved but these will typically include Method of Victory, Time of Victory, together with Round-by-Round betting.
Alongside the traditional set of markets for each fight, there are long term bets available for the bigger tournaments that we’ve mentioned above. Ahead of each Bellator or UFC championship, the sportsbooks will allow customers to bet on the man or woman who they think will ultimately come through and take the top prize.
Markets will open very early for the biggest competitions and they are always busy in the lead up to the first bell. In addition, it may also be possible for bettors to find an additional option for top three betting but this is less common and fewer bookmakers tend to get involved.
In conclusion, there is a wide choice of options for MMA betting in Canada, both in terms of outright markets, straight result and prop bets.
MMA Betting Rules and Tips for Canadians
All Canadian players must adhere to the strict rules that apply to gambling within the country. These are listed in full under the legal section of this preview but beyond those nationwide regulations, each individual bookmaker will have their own rules in regards to certain requirements.
Minimum and maximum stakes will be applied and these will vary depending on which outlet is being used. Maximum profits may also apply in certain cases so if you are a high roller playing with big stakes, this aspect must be kept in mind.
Customers should also look for an operator that provides a wide set of payment options. Visa and Mastercard should be offered automatically and the use of wire transfers for funding is also important. Beyond those obvious choices, eWallets such as PayPal and the Canadian-specific providers would be helpful to attract new account holders.
Lastly, look for a site that combines competitive odds with a good set of betting markets for MMA. You can check odds comparison sites for regular value but we can now recommend some of the best operators for betting on MMA and UFC events in Canada.
MMA Betting Sites for Canadians
As we know, betting restrictions in Canada mean that not all betting sites are available to residents of the country. From the smaller list that is accessible, some sportsbooks are better than others in terms of choice and value and here we have listed our recommendations.
Sports Interaction is a good place to start for betting on any sport because this is a Canadian company and therefore we can be certain that it is focused primarily on its residents. It offers customers the opportunity to deposit, withdraw and play in Canadian dollars and that is always a positive aspect that makes betting online so much easier.
Sports Interaction were founded way back in 1997 and that’s a long time in the digital age so we know that this is a trusted brand. There is a bonus offer worth up to $100.00 on sign up and in terms of MMA betting, Sports Interaction offer competitive prices and a wide set of markets.
Bodog are another Canadian focussed firm and therefore another logical place for residents of Canada to bet on any sport, including MMA. Canadian Dollars is listed as a currency option and odds on any combat sports are strong with a good set of prop bets included among the standard markets.
New players can currently look forward to a welcome bonus which offers up to $100.00 as a 100% match on your existing deposit.
888Sport are a global bookmaker but they are known for looking to establish themselves in restricted territories and Canadians will find a good home here. The welcome bonus may not be quite as generous as those listed above but there are a number of ongoing promotions for regular players that can compensate for that.
Founded in 2008, 888Sport are often out on their own with the highest market odds and the biggest range of prop bets for any sport.
Pinnacle don’t offer an introductory bonus but don’t let that put you off as the absence of a welcome deal is compensated by consistently high odds on any sport and that includes MMA. Over the course of a sporting year, we would suggest that Pinnacle offer better prices than any of their competitors and that’s why they are such a strong option.
Canadian players are welcome and with a wide choice of markets and funding options, this is the best place to play for those bettors who are looking beyond the welcome offer and planning to sign up with a sportsbook for the long term.
Of all the sites that we list here, we would suggest that SportingBet is the best when it comes to live betting and also for betting on the go via a mobile device. The range of live markets is very strong and SportingBet’s app is one of the best on the market.
Canadian players are welcome and have a choice of funding options with which to get on board and while some of the sites listed above may have better odds, SportingBet are always competitive and there is a generous welcome offer worth $100.00 to kick things off.
Is it legal to bet on MMA in Canada?
It is legal for citizens of Canada to bet on MMA events but they must adhere to the general rules that are laid down for sports betting within the country. Discussions as to those rules are very fluid, just as they are in the United States following the repeal of the PASPA ruling but these are the specific regulations at the time of writing – July 2018.
At present, it is illegal for Canadians to bet on the outcome of a single event so, in order to stake online, they have to pick a parlay using two selections or more. That is the main issue under discussion but for now, that is the rule that all Canadian bettors must adhere to.
Any bookmaker who trades from Canada has to have a specific license from the government but, other operators can open their doors to Canadian citizens without having to adhere to this rule. As a result, sportsbooks from Panama, Curacao, the Isle of Man and many others can be accessed as long as they are happy to take customers from Canada.
There are laws but they are simple ones and while all rules and regulations should be kept in mind, the important point to remember concerns the banning of betting on single markets. Beyond that, be sure that your chosen bookmaker accepts Canadian players before you attempt to sign up.
Follow those simple guidelines and you can enjoy all the fun and excitement that MMA betting has to offer.