Moneyball may have opened many people’s eyes to the world of sabermetrics, but the statistics trend is expanding way beyond baseball. Analytics are encompassing most professional sports, with perhaps the most surprising one being mixed martial arts.
Yes, even MMA is now jumping on the bandwagon and taking a cue from baseball. MMA joins the likes of hockey, soccer and basketball as the different sports leagues all researching the use of statistics in their respective sports as the amount of data available continues to grow.
MMA hasn’t gone so far as to track each kick or punch thrown by a fighter, but for a sport that has no traditional way of recording data, they are attempting to create some order out of the confusion that exists, according to ITworld.com.
An entire panel titled “Breaking Down the Fight: MMA Analytics” was even devoted to the issue at this year’s MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. ESPN commentator Jordan Breen, fight journalist Luke Thomas, current Ultimate Fighting Championship title-holder Dominick Cruz and Rami Genauer, who tracks the statistics on FightMetrics.com, led the panel.
Genauer’s website attempts to compile all the data into one neat place and it also attempts to lessen the ambiguity that is present in fighting — even the panel couldn’t agree on what constitutes a takedown and what counts as a significant strike. Fighters can even use the statistics to prepare for opponents, the same way a pitcher uses the numbers to see a hitter’s weakness.
With the increasing popularity of the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference and the new technology that continues to be unveiled when it comes to statistics, there is no doubt that this trend is here to stay and the MMA is direct proof of how wide-reaching it really is.
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