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DraftKings Boosts Its Mixed Martial Arts Betting With a Big UFC Deal

By Rhian Hunt - Mar 4, 2021 at 2:47PM

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DraftKings is shelling out more than $100 million for the combat sports partnership.

Expanding its presence in the world of flying fists and grappling moves in a major way, sports betting and fantasy sports company DraftKings (DKNG -3.35%) is launching a partnership with the UFC MMA organization. Fans of the combat sport will soon be able to place bets on UFC fights if they live in states where sports betting is legal. DraftKings also offers fantasy sports services everywhere.

An inside source speaking to ESPN said DraftKings is paying handsomely to secure its alliance with UFC, with a cash outlay in the "low nine figures," or at least $100 million. The same source also stated the entire partnership, if marketing is added in to DraftKings' payment to the MMA organization, is valued at approximately $350 million.

The DraftKings logo shown on the FightClock, with the ring and the UFC logo in the background.

Image source: UFC, DraftKings.

A newly launched timekeeping system, dubbed the "UFC FightClock" and described as "state-of-the-art," will also be presented by DraftKings. The onscreen clock will display a countdown for each round of mixed martial arts. The FightClock will first appear this weekend, March 6, during UFC 259, a fight pitting MMA champion Jan Blachowicz against Israel Adesanya in Las Vegas. Other "branded integrations" will follow the FightClock.

DraftKings CEO Jason Robins remarked combat sports "scaled significantly across both our sportsbook and daily fantasy verticals," identifying MMA as "a high-demand category that we believe will only grow further."

However, though the company is aggressively pushing its sports betting and fantasy sports expansion, investors aren't necessarily pleased at its constant string of deals. DraftKings' stock fell 4% yesterday after it trumpeted a partnership with DISH Network, apparently because a clunky interface still requires bets to be completed via mobile app. Today's deal also appears to be falling flat, with DraftKings shares down more than 8% in early afternoon trading.

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