Tennessee Approves Sports Betting On Fledgling Local MMA Promotion

Regulators with the Tennessee state lottery have approved legal sports betting on a fledgling local MMA promotion, alongside top players in the MMA industry such as the UFC and Bellator. It appears the approval was done at the request of TN Action 24/7, a locally based sportsbook.

A combat sports promotion dubbed Showcase MMA was approved by the lottery in late March. Showcase MMA LLC is based out of Elizabethton, Tenn., and it was registered in February, according to the state’s Division of Business Services. According to Sherdog.com, Showcase MMA’s first event dates back to 2018. It has held 16 events and presided over about 36 matches, according to the website.

Tennessee’s sports betting market kicked off in November.

An event in late March advertised TN Action 24/7 as the place to gamble on the promotion’s “professional” fights. In the world of local or regional MMA, professional means the fighters were paid, but that doesn’t mean they earn a living at it. Even many UFC fighters can’t make a living from fighting.

According to Showcase MMA’s website, its next show is May 22 in Kingsport, Tenn.

The promotion’s events are available for viewing via an entity called Spectation Sports, which made its “broadcasting debut” in January, according to a presser. The MMA event broadcast in January was sponsored by Action 24/7. On Spectation’s website, a “wagering” tab includes odds on other MMA events, including the UFC, featuring odds from the likes of Action 24/7 rivals BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel. However, Action 24/7 is the only book with an affiliate link on the website.

Professional MMA in Tennessee, which became legal in the state in 2008, is regulated by the state athletic commission. The 2019 Sports Gaming Act prohibits anyone with insider knowledge or the ability to impact the result of a sporting event from wagering.