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Book Review: Betting on MMA By Jason Rothman Provides a Succinct Yet Thorough Examination of “Value Investing” and Its Relation to MMA Gambling

By Jared Jones

I appreciate honesty in writing. I am also a tremendous hypocrite, which is why I often resort to trickery, tomfoolery, and outright fabrications when discussing this thing we call MMA with you Taters. I’m less a blogger, more a magician — a line that I would never suggest you use to pick up women with — and more often than not I resort to a near constant influx of red herrings and other intentional misdirects to even make it through a post. But amidst all the deceit and double-crosses, I do actually manage to squeeze in a few instances of genuine honesty with you readers, more often than not in the Gambling Addiction Enabler pieces I contribute when Dan “Get Off Me” George doesn’t feel up to it.

So when I turned to the introductory page of Jason Rothman’s Betting on MMA to find the statements located directly below, I was pretty much assured that I’d be getting exactly what I wanted out of his look into the world of MMA gambling.

This book is about making money from betting on the sport of mixed martial arts. And that is the only thing this book is about.

If you do not know what a triangle choke is, then this book is not for you. 

And indeed, Rothman’s guide analyzing everything from money line odds to fighter attributes to the power of hype makes no attempt to wow you with its prose. The writing style, though sometimes cryptic and a bit repetitive, is simply a means to an end. That end is making you money, and although I have yet to put any of Rothman’s teachings into practice, I can assure you that Betting on MMA offers enough genuine insight and real-life examples to make it a must own for any MMA fan who fancies themselves a gambler.

It isn’t often that a book cover can serve as a manifest for the book itself, but Rothman (or perhaps his pubisher) has succeeded in that right as well. The cover (pictured above) features Phil Baroni in a classic fist-pose with Warren Buffet, which although clearly photoshopped, more or less dictates the two themes that will be prevalent throughout the book: Brutal honesty and business savvy.

The book itself is divided into three segments: “The Fundamentals,” “MMA Speculating,” and two appendices providing the aforementioned real-life examples of Rothman’s theories being put into practice. Using the principles of “value investing” as laid out by multibillionaire Warren Buffet, Rothman does a great job of convincing his audience that wagering on an MMA match is much easier than it looks.

“The Fundamentals” places most of its emphasis on a mathematical process of analyzing a given fighter’s chances based on their betting lines, which Rothman dubs “Handicapping Fights.” Without giving too much away, Rothman lays out a simple method of comparing/measuring both the current odds of a given fighter against the approximate chances of victory you give said fighter to determine whether or not there is a large enough “margin of safety” to place a bet. Coming from someone who usually relied on only the latter to determine his fight picks, this section is an ingenious bit of information that will surely affect my gambling methods going forward.

Part two of Betting on MMA focuses on some of the extraneous factors that surround a given fighter in the weeks/months before a fight (hype, for instance) but also takes a look at the more discernible determinants that could alter a bet. A fighters paths to victory (a.k.a how they can win the fight), his/her age, injury rumors — these are all details that MMA gambling fans should keep a look out for before placing their bets. But Rothman goes even further than that, placing an additional emphasis on staying away from fighters who “look soft” come weigh-in time. Although he uses a perfect example in Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos 1 (Cain was coming off multiple debilitating injuries), two more recent examples that strike me are Mark Munoz in his fight with Chris Weidman and Patrick Cote against Alessio Sakara last weekend. Say what you want about the ending of the latter, but in both cases, two guys showed up looking heavier around the waist than normal and paid dearly for it. Rothman also details several other fight-alternating factors, such as a given fighters “chin” and how losing a title fight can affect a fighter’s performance in the long run.

The third section of Rothman’s book provides a couple examples of low risk, big reward bets he calls “Big Game Hunting” and displays two real-life “case studies” in which Rothman puts his teachings into practice. Again, in order to see just what fights he bet on and using what logic, you’ll have to pick the book up for yourself, but suffice it to say, Rothman was spot on in both cases and the information is presented as such.

That is not to say that Rothman doesn’t paint with too broad a brush at times. For instance, when analyzing the third fight between B.J. Penn and Matt Hughes at UFC 123 using his “Paths to Victory” assessment, Rothman claims that Hughes had no method through which he could win the fight and therefore wouldn’t justify a bet, despite the fact that Hughes had managed to both exploit Penn’s lack of cardio at 170 and his own size advantage when he defeated Penn in the pair’s second showing at UFC 63. Granted, I would have never bet on Hughes in that fight and Rothman was ultimately correct in his analysis, but to claim that Hughes had no way of winning seems a little presumptuous. It is a small complaint that is purely subjective, and truly one of the only ones I could find while reviewing the book. Other than the somewhat odd spacing of words and sentences at times, which I will chalk up as a mistake on the publisher’s part.

At 100 pages on the nose, Betting on MMA is succinct enough to read through in an hour or two, yet thorough enough to provide a lifetime’s worth of knowledge when it comes to gambling on MMA. You can purchase a paperback version of Betting on MMA here, a Kindle version here, or check out Rothman’s official site for all your gambling needs here.

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Magiblaze- November 21, 2012 at 11:51 am
I bought the book myself and have to say I felt a little burned by the book as they released it for free just about 1-2 weeks later after already paying for it after it had came out.I believe its been released twice for free already but know for fact at least once.I went through the book in a little under two hours and feel that its a little too simple for breaking down fights looking at the three methods of victory.It was a good read though but if I had to recommend this book to someone I'd aim it at more as an introduction to MMA betting for moderate casual fans then the hardcore ones.Theres no shortage of Warren Buffet references in this book.
SethF- November 20, 2012 at 7:50 pm
...Ben, the cranberry sauce is pretty good...#MostAwkwardCagePotatoThanksgivingPartyEver
Get Off Me- November 20, 2012 at 6:47 pm
11% gain over 4 months on investment......
Get Off Me- November 20, 2012 at 6:44 pm
It's Dan George(after Chief Dan George), I know who started the GAE and I underline the last 6 GAE which I offered picks on. I will take the pompous remark as soon as you provide a link or any information that proves me wrong, otherwise I'm not being pompous, I'm being truthful right(like the CP GAE since keeping score has been profitable). Again it's not nobody can match my success, but who out there is tracking their bets like this and offering advice like CP is? This is not an attack against you or Jason, ideally you can provide a link that shows others out there have made money since UFC148(how much they laid and how much they made) and Jason starts tracking his picks on his site. All this over $50 profit for $360 dollars invested since UFC148, what kind of financial advisor do you know gives you 11% return on a month investment like that(a link again would be helpful there). I must come across like a real asshole but most who know me around here would give me the benefit of the doubt.
Get Off Me- November 20, 2012 at 2:30 pm
Maybe you should ask him for proof that he has won or made more than $50 over the past 6 PPV cards. I've won a lot more than 50 bucks over the last 6 PPV's, what the GAE is about is offering insight followed by picks, while I play these picks that I put down, I also play a hell of a lot of others you don't see(think i mailed u a $10 for $100 winner not too long back). Your missing my point, I would read a book on sprinting by Usain Bolt, on basketball by Michael Jordan, on poker by Stu Ungar etc because they can factually claim their achievements. Just this past card Rothman "consulted" that Condit/GSP somehow came down to a "coin flip" and that the "Value" was with Condit. My advice was that GSP would be able to land his takedown and beat Condit over 5rd decision. There is a reason none of these "experts" tell you how much to bet and put it down on paper for the world to see and that's because they don't make money. I bet you Rothman hasn't won more than $50 betting on the last 6 PPV's, do you think we will ever be able to know for sure?NO. This is why people who want to give advice on making money, should show you how much money they have made, like I did. I'm 3-3 so far and we are up $50, nobody on the internet can claim that kind of success because they do not hold themselves accountable. If I told you I make between 5-10k a year betting mma would you believe me? If I told you I make 100k a year would you believe me? How come you believe Rothman, what success has he brought you, how are you sure he has won more than $50 in the past few months? I'm offering Rothman some very valuable and constructive criticism here and he would be wise to take it.. prove you are profitable...I have proven that much at least and I'm doing this for free. I did not just start the GAE because I thought I knew how to make people money, I started it because I know after many years betting on mma how to turn a profit. Ask any sharp or successful line maker about "Value", just wait about half a second and you'll see them grin and chuckle. I will go out a buy this book if you can tell me on which page he documents his betting over a given period of time and proves he is profitable showing money invested vs money gained..fair enough?
Alan K- November 20, 2012 at 8:47 am
So you're saying this book isn't for Chael then.
holeeball- November 20, 2012 at 8:43 am
So I can buy this book or put $19.14 in Get Off Me advice and end up with about ~$22.
Let's see here what do? Become $19 poorer or $3 richer?
Shit I'm confused.
Fried Taco- November 20, 2012 at 7:34 am
He will probably use any proceeds from the sales of his book to test out his theories.
Get Off Me- November 19, 2012 at 8:41 pm
I have not read the book, but unless I can find concrete evidence that this guy is profitable applying his theory, I would stay away from his "consulting" offer.The word "VALUE" is synonymous with "LOSING", the only value you receive from betting is when you win, there is not "VALUE" in losing. The sad fact with gambling is that about only 2% of those who gamble are profitable on an annual basis and getting into that 2% territory takes time. It may be an interesting lense using economics with gambling on mma, but again one needs to prove it works. I started doing the GAE because I wanted to be the first person out there to actually prove that I can be profitable, not just making picks, losing and coming right back again like nothing happened. In total(2 x $20 parlay 4or3 x $5.00 props) over the past 6 PPV cards my advice has proved $60.00/card x 6 cards I have suggested wagering a total of $360.00 with a grand total return on $50.00 for your trouble, meaning if you started a bankroll with me from UFC 148 and invested $360.00, you would have a balance of $410.00 bucks today. You can break down fights a million different ways, but at the end of the day if you don't put it down on paper, keep score and stand behind it, why should we listen and invest our hard earned money?
Fried Taco- November 19, 2012 at 3:26 pm
I bet I'm not gonna buy this book.