There are two key lessons we can learn from Guy Ritchie’s seminal heist-flick Snatch:
- Don’t mess with Travellers, nor their accents.
- There’s still a fair bit of dirty money to be made from fighting – especially if you bet on yourself.
Despite the massive commercial opportunities presented by UFC’s uptake in Australia, Victoria’s gambling watchdog has taken that second lesson to heart by admitting it barred Tabcorp from taking bets on MMA fights in the state. It says the sport has some glaring issues in terms of combating corruption and money laundering by criminal ne’er-do-wells, and they don’t want a a bar of it.
It’s the first time a ban like this has been placed on a sporting event – specifically, UFC 193 – which means that Tabcorp couldn’t take any bets on that massive Rousey v. Holm fight last year. It’s a huge deal, considering how much Victorians love a punt, but bookies based interstate or overseas were still able to get around the ban.
UFC has come out swinging, with vice president Tom Wright saying there are actually a slew of preventative measures in place to stop any underhanded dealings. Still, experts in the field reckon the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation wouldn’t go ahead and ban betting on an entire sport without any serious evidence.
In any case, the sport has definitely found itself a new nemesis.
Photo: Jeff Zuffa / Getty.