The 15th season of The Ultimate Fighter will come to an end on Friday, but this is only the beginning of what will likely continue to be a series featuring live fights with posted MMA odds moving forward. UFC president Dana White addressed this and other questions in a video interview on YouTube posted by MMAFighting.com earlier this week. “If you’re a fight fan, a sports fan, or you like to bet, you can go into the sportsbooks for The Ultimate Fighter, and you sit there, and you get to watch the reality of what’s going on that week,” White said. “Then you can make your decision, and go up and bet on the fight. Pretty cool.” White went on to say he was talking about a small segment of the population while at the same time admitting he was the kind of “lunatic” that used to enjoy the rush of MMA betting action. “That’s how I was when I was a fight fan,” he said. “It was all about studying everything that was going on leading up to the fight, then you make a bet on the fight and watch the fight. It’s so much fun.” The fact of the matter is, betting on MMA helps drive the sport, especially as a reality TV series fans can wager on throughout the season, from episode to episode. In Season 15, MMA fans have gotten to know all 16 lightweight fighters who made it into the TUF house and seen their stories unfold before their very eyes while also getting the unique opportunity to pick who they think will advance and bet on the results. For example, TUF finalist Michael Chiesa had to deal with the death of his father early in the season and fought through the pain to upset Team Cruz’s Justin Lawrence and James Vick en route to facing Team Faber teammate Al Iaquinta on Friday. Those who have rooted for and bet on Chiesa have been able to profit nicely from his wins and will get one more chance in the finale. Offshore sportsbooks like BetDSI have also led the charge by being among the first to release MMA odds on the TUF fights each week. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas has set the opening lines for TUF and believes the sky is the limit for the series in the future. “The popularity of MMA betting continues to grow at a rapid pace,” Kalikas said. “Offering weekly betting lines for TUF has definitely added more excitement and buzz to the show.”
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