Money Fight Breaks RecordsJake Cooper | 06 Sep 2017
Not only was the fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor possibly the biggest ever between a boxing icon and mixed martial arts and UFC champion, but it also smashed betting records across the board. With over a year’s worth of hype behind it and an abundance of press conferences filled with trash talk, statement suits and controversy, there was never any doubt that the Money Fight, as it was dubbed, would generate a huge amount of income for betting sites.
Until the Money Fight the Mayweather-Pacquiao showdown was the most bet on fight in history, with sportsbooks like Betfair recording bets of £8.9 million. Just two years later, Betfair's exchange market had reached £20 million before the Mayweather-McGregor fight, and hit nearly £100 million in bets before the fighters took to the ring.
Across the UK's high-street gambling industry bets reached between £200-300 million in total, making the Money Fight a big one for everyone.
Rooting for the Underdog
From the start Mayweather was the favourite to win, but that didn’t stop punters getting behind the Irish MMA fighter. Betting on McGregor was at an all-time high, and even though experts had given him little to no chance of winning, that didn’t seem to deter punters.
Bet365 also reported that they had broken all previous records for a boxing match and after the weigh in, before the pair stepped in to the ring, they had taken up to 50,000 wagers in just singles in 24 hours. Betting didn’t let up either, and during the fight their live betting wagers also exceeded expectations. Had McGregor won the fight bet365 would have paid out millions of pounds to punters, smashing all previous payout records.
Rumours had also abounded that should McGregor emerge victorious, it would cripple sportsbooks in Vegas. Sources said that so many punters had backed McGregor that a win would see Vegas sportsbooks take one of the biggest hits of the last decade. In the end Vegas won, but with a fight lasting 10 rounds there were sure to have been some tense moments as operators held tight hoping for a Mayweather win.
Popular online betting brand Paddy Power is never one to shy away from controversy, and they also made their mark in the annals of history with the Money Fight. Not only did Mayweather don a pair of custom made Paddy Power green boxers for the weigh in, his shorts also bore the slogan ‘Always Bet On Black’. Paddy Power then put their money where their mouths were, paying out early on anyone who bet on Mayweather to win.
The bookmaker shelled out £250,000 to punters who had backed Mayweather, and said that had he lost, they’d have taken the quarter of a million pound hit with pride. A Paddy Power spokesperson said that 80% of punters had backed McGregor, and that they were raking in an estimated £200 million in bets, 3x more than the amount that had been wagered on the Mayweather- Pacquiao fight and by far the biggest event of this year.
Both Fighters Pocket a Pretty Penny
In the end punters who backed Mayweather scored and the bookies broke records, but it was the fighters who really walked away with the big money. Mayweather took home £77.4 million from the fight, while the Notorious one pocketed £23.2 million. Then there were earnings from the Pay Per View revenue, which generated £543.5 million and which were to be split 30/70 in Mayweather favour.
Mayweather can now settle into retirement with his 50 consecutive wins and a whopping £154.82 million, while McGregor can decide what he wants to do next with a bank balance that’s been boosted by an estimated £54.19 million.