Are professional fighters allowed to bet?

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Professional fighters are superstar athletes who earn a lot of money from their well-promoted matches. This is the situation with every fighting discipline, including boxing and UFC. However, fighters and their teams sometimes decide to maximize their earning potential by betting on their own fights. 

Is this a legal practice? The short answer is both yes and no. 

Although it sounds very confusing at first, the situation is actually clear as soon as you get into the specifics. If you are interested in figuring out the whole answer, you will find it in the following chapters. 

The basic betting regulations for professional fighters

Many readers ask us: Is it legit to play casino games and to gamble on the in a specific country? This is always a tricky question because it all depends on local regulations and how a given state regulates the field. It turns out that betting among fighters is very similar because different divisions and associations have different rules. But the most common solutions apply to all of the major federations, so let’s check out the four major betting principles in the fighting realm.

  1. Fighters can bet to win their matches

Almost every fighting association in the world allows its members to place a bet on their own matches. It is considered to be a natural thing in the world of UFC or boxing because participants can multiple earnings by doing the thing they are trained to do – win a fight. 

There is nothing wrong with placing a wager on your own match because it’s natural to enter the fight with the idea of winning it. The fact that you bet to win doesn’t change anything because you are expected to fight hard and hopefully win a match. 

The situation is very clear here and it’s the easiest betting option in terms of official regulations. However, other situations are a bit more complicated, so let’s take a closer look here. 

  1. Fighters are not allowed to bet to win in a specific way

The problem with betting on your own game is this – bookies give you more than one option. Instead of just predicting the winner, there is also the option of placing wagers on a highly particular type of win. 

For example, a boxer may decide to go for a win in the second round by knockout. In this case, people may be suspicious of his intentions because a boxer may be postponing the knockout deliberately just to get a winning ticket. 

This is exactly why fighters are not allowed to place wagers that extend beyond straightforward wins. Anything more than that would be considered illegal and it would break the barriers of traditional sportsmanship. In such circumstances, UFC fighters and boxers are not allowed to bet to win a specific way. 

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  1. Fighters cannot bet on their loss

The third sports betting rule among fighters is that they cannot bet on their losses. The situation is very clear here – betting to lose your own match creates a conflict of interests since you can directly influence the outcome of the fight in order to make money. 

In such circumstances, banning this type of betting becomes fairly logical. The rule applies to all kinds of sports, including UFC and boxing. In case you don’t get the rule just yet, let us give you an example.

A boxer is guaranteed to earn $100 thousand for a win or $50 thousand if he loses the match. But should betting have been allowed, he could have easily lost the fight and earned $50 thousand plus another $100 thousand on the winning ticket.

In other words, losing fights pays off if you are free to bet on your own matches. This is why betting is not allowed to fighters who bet against themselves. 

  1. Fighters cannot bet on any match during the Olympics

The final anti-betting rule focuses on a single event, but it is by far the most important sports event in the world. Namely, fighters are not allowed to bet during the Olympics because it counters the nature of the tournament. 

Every participant has to sign an anti-betting contract and confirm not to bet on his or anyone else’s fights during the Olympics tournament. The same goes for coaches and other members of a fighter’s staff because they might also influence the result of the match.

The bottom line

Professional athletes in many sports are not allowed to bet because it counters the very logic of sportsmanship. However, the same logic does not apply to boxing and UFC – at least not entirely. Every boxer or UFC fighter has the right to place a bet on his own win because it doesn’t interfere with the logic of the sports.

On the other hand, fighters are not allowed to bet against themselves because it makes matches very easy to fix. No boxing or fighting federation allows it because they don’t want to jeopardize the reputation of the sport as such. This is the only way to encourage sports betting among fighters while preserving the regularity of events.


Paul Calderon is a martial arts instructor who runs a personal blog dedicated to betting and online casino gambling. He is mainly interested in UFC, boxing, and WWE and he often shares useful betting tips with his audience. Apart from writing, Paul enjoys reading books and attending webinars dedicated to digital marketing.


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