Analytics in Mixed Martial Arts
Analytics in sports is now a known thing we all know sports like Baseball, Basketball, Ice Hockey, Football now even Cricket is introduced to analytics. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game is a book by Michael Lewis, published in 2003, about the Oakland Athletics baseball team and its general manager Billy Beane. Its focus is the team’s analytical, evidence-based, saber metric approach to assembling a competitive baseball team, despite Oakland’s disadvantaged revenue situation.
Now here I am talking about a sport which is brutal in nature a sport which is criticized for its rules. I am talking about young sports called “MIXED MARTIAL ARTS”.
I am Roshan Suvarna a student of analytical studies , Karate Black belt and State Level Gold medalist in MMA will introduce you to the level of statistics which is used in MMA fights and challenges faced by statisticians and analyst to implement their analysis.
Let me put lights on what is Mixed Martial Arts(MMA), it is a full contact fight tournament which allows both striking and grappling, both standing and on the ground, using techniques from other combat sports and martial arts. There are many MMA tournaments which are running around the globe and making tons of money like the most Famous UFC, in India, it was SFL and also some more MMA tournaments which I know in India is Budolin Fighters League, X-9 MMA Fights.
Analytics in MMA is the new baby, the sports enthusiast and fans want to know how and in what terms their favorite fighter won?, fighters want to know who he may face in his match? Organizing committee wants to know which fighter is in form and how much money he will make to a league? Judges making the correct decision? All these questions arise if you are interested in MMA analytics. In MMA how analytics work is there is a metric called Fight Metric where all MMA statistics are placed and remember it is reviewed only after judges decided that means Judge’s decision is not affected by this metrics, But we can review judges decision-making skills from this metrics. Below is the figure of one the fights.
Some more figures:
How these metrics help fighters? Players can analyze along with their coaches how the opponent fights and data are for all rounds so how opponent react in different rounds. By looking at this metrics fighter can set his game plan and act upon it.
Now let’s come to some challenges which analyst is facing while implementing analytics in MMA:
- Not much data available, MMA is just 23-year-old sport its sample data is like population. It was easy for Billy Beane to introduce analytics in Baseball because he had already 100 years of data with him, but this is not in a case of MMA.
- A rule of MMA makes it too tough to implement analytics. Like if I want to know whether Fighter made an impact in fight result with a throw but it is not easy to analyze this impact because as a wrestler may be Fighter A will think he made an impact but as per rule and judges different martial arts background do not think that the throw was accurate enough to impact the fight decision. There is no uniformity in MMA rules.
- Fighters different Martial arts background make it difficult to analyze like if a fighter is specialized in Jiu Jitsu then he may be good in grappling and on the floor but his stats will show that he is poor in throwing punches and kicks that don’t mean he is a bad fighter.
- There are suggestions that to use sensors in gloves but it will make the same thing data will be collected only of that fighter who is punching more.
MMA Fights is a Billion dollar business and analytics in MMA is spreading wide and making an impact in fights and business. Indian leagues are also implementing analytics which gives them a professional touch.
This is all about MMA analytics and MMA lover like me love to see the data and its impacts in fights.
Thank you very much for reading this blog. Hope you guys liked it.