UFC and Fightmetric team up to compile UFC rankings

February 1, 2013

The UFC and Fightmetric have teamed together to offer UFC fighter rankings.  The rankings will include selected MMA media members voting on the rankings.

Via UFC press release:

“We are thrilled to have UFC recognize our fighter rankings and to have them hosted on UFC.com, as well as incorporated into event broadcasts. FightMetric has worked closely with the UFC for several years as an industry-leader in MMA statistics. Sports fans are accustomed to seeing performance data and rankings on their favorite baseball, football and soccer players, and now we can engage UFC fans on a similar level,” said FightMetric creator Rami Genauer.

“UFC Fighter Rankings are a great tool for new and existing fans alike to learn and better keep up with the fast pace of the UFC,” said UFC President Dana White. “We always look for opportunities to engage fans and media, allowing them to connect and voice their opinions, and this just one more way of doing that.”

Media members will vote for top fighters, currently active in the UFC, by weight class and pound-for-pound. A fighter can only appear in one weight division at a time. The champion and interim champions of each division are set in the first and second positions respectively and are not eligible for voting by media. However, champions can be voted on for the pound-for-pound rankings. Media voting is by invitation only and interested media members can apply at UFC.com/Rankings.


Payout Perspective:

Congratulations to Rami Genauer at Fightmetric on the new endeavor.  To learn more about him and his company, we interviewed him back in September 2010.  The fighter rankings creates a closed universe for the UFC as the rankings would include only UFC fighters.  Allowing media members a vote gives the rankings an appearance of impartiality.  Obviously, not all media members will be chosen to vote. In fact, 90 were invited and it appears that others can apply.  This process has been a bone of contention among MMA media.  Everyone loves lists so the rankings may be good for that.  At least, with Fightmetric, we will have some statistical information to go upon.  But, what does this really do for the fights that are made when we know its up to the Zuffa trust?

Fightmetric introduces new Fantasy MMA game

October 24, 2011

Fightmetric, the UFC’s official statistics provider, recently developed a new fantasy MMA game. The game, MMA Salary Cap Challenge, is similar to fantasy football and baseball as it uses statistics to determine winners.

Via its press release:

The game works just like other salary cap style fantasy games. Players are given a budget for each MMA event to spend on the fighters competing on the televised portion.

Scoring is based upon round as well as knockdowns, significant strikes, takedowns, submission attempts and passes.

Payout Perspective:

It’s an interesting take on Fantasy MMA. Looking at the scoring system, maybe MMA judges could use the information. For Fightmetric, it’s a nice way for it take advantage of the statistics it already compiles and package it in a fantasy game for public consumption. It would be interesting to know how many MMA fans out there participate in Fantasy MMA and if something like this would catch on. Fantasy Football is such a growth industry, will a Fantasy MMA game catch on with fans?

Sportsnet.ca offers Canada’s first fantasy MMA game

November 10, 2010

Fightmetric’s Rami Genauer spoke with MMA Payout about Fightmetric’s involvement in creating a fantasy MMA game for Canadian sports outlet Rogers Sportsnet.

Contestants pick winners from the three UFC events starting with UFC 122 on November 13 and culminating in the final match between Georges St. Pierre and Josh Koscheck at UFC 124 in Montreal (http://mmatournament.sportsnet.ca). Sportsnet is offering over $2,000 in prizes. First prize is a  50 inch LCD HD television, Playstation 3 along with the new EA MMA game. Unfortunately for US residents, prizes are only available to Canadian residents outside Quebec. But, Fightmetric is offering prizes for non-Canadians. The details are here.  

Fights from each of the events populate the familiar bracket structure used in other tournament games. A unique “bracket bonus” scoring system ensures that the stakes are raised in each round as point values escalate.

Genauer had time to answer some questions about developing Canada’s first fantasy MMA game.

1)  When were you first approached by Sportsnet about building this tournament-style game?

RG: The story of this game goes back to last November when there was a confluence of six major MMA events in a two week span. That gave me an idea for a tournament-style game similar to the NCAA’s March Madness. The concept presented a set of challenges to gameplay because the fighters wouldn’t continue through to the next round as they would in a traditional tournament. After considering the problems for a while, we were able to work out a system that creates a satisfying tournament “feel” and uses an innovative scoring system that is completely unique to the fantasy industry.

2)  Did you provide any input about how the game would work (i.e., rules, logistics), or did Sportsnet come to you and tell you what they wanted?

RG: The idea cropped-up on short notice, so there wasn’t an opportunity to do a full-scale implementation. But since the opportunity was too good to pass-up, we did an offline tournament in partnership with Bloody Elbow.

We began working with Sportsnet in early 2010 to put our stats feed on their MMA pages, but fantasy was always on their minds. When they were ready to move on fantasy, we pitched several game concepts to them and Tournament Pick ‘em was the game they chose. We did the design and development work to meet their specifications and I’m very pleased with the result. And we built the game with expansion in mind. Because MMA has no regular season, we’ve constructed the platform so that it is possible to start a brand new tournament at any time using any 4-6 upcoming MMA events.

3)  Have you been approached by any US entities about creating a tournament like this? 

RG: The nice thing about the game is that it is open for everyone to play, even if its hosted by a Canadian site. Anyone can join and create their own private pool. They can then invite their friends or co-workers and play the game very similar to how they would with March Madness. We’ve also set it up so that your bracket can be in multiple pools at once. That way you can join your private pool, a pool created by your favorite site (mmapayout pool, maybe?), the FightMetric fans pool, and any others. And everyone is automatically entered in the overall challenge, which has some great prizes for Canadian residents.

4)  Do you have an idea about the number of people signing up?  What is the response?

RG: Registration is going really well. We’re seeing a lot of the passion that the MMA community has come to expect from its Canadian fans. I’m looking forward to a nice bump in registration as we get closer and people turn their attention to the first event at UFC 122.

Payout Perspective:

I think this March Madness-type game is a great way to get people involved and interested in upcoming MMA fights. The “office-pool” feel helps include everyone since people can play but not have to be a hardcore fan. Although it is not what you think, when you hear MMA fantasy game–since most fantasy games are stat heavy–it is a simple, yet effective way that you can compete with others.

I see future MMA fantasy games becoming more involved and including stats. Thus, Fightmetric can take advantage of its vast amount of information.

Interview with FightMetric creator Rami Genauer

September 30, 2010

MMA Payout had the opportunity to get in touch with Fightmetric creator Rami Genauer. He was gracious enough to answer some questions about his company. Earlier this month, Fightmetric was chosen as the stat provider of choice by the UFC.

1.  What is your background?

 My educational background is in political science and media studies, and I started out my career as a journalist, covering Congress and politics. I also did some sports writing, which is how I first got interested in sports data. Prior to starting FightMetric, I worked as a corporate strategy consultant. Much of the work that went into creating FightMetric drew from that experience in designing data collection methodologies, performing quantitative analysis, and mining data sets.

2.  How did you come up with the concept for FightMetric?

FightMetric started because I was writing articles about MMA and thought it was strange that there were no data to use beyond wins and losses. In writing about other sports (mainly baseball), you find yourself drawn to performance statistics in nearly every article. Because of this, I took it as a challenge to try and conceive of what an MMA statistics system would look like. The goal of the system would not be to merely produce numbers that are anecdotally interesting, but to inject some science into this sport. With the right system, we could create data used to advance the understanding of the sport and create meaningful and powerful metrics.

There was about six months of testing hypotheses, defining methodology, creating a data collection regime, and analyzing the outputs for accuracy and utility before we officially scored our first fight. It started as something fun to try and to satisfy my curiosity, but the reception to it was so great, it has turned into something much larger.

3.  When was it first utilized by an MMA show?/When was it first used by the UFC?

 We started hearing announcers reference our numbers in early 2008, but UFC 87 was the first time we worked directly with the UFC. 

4.  Did you approach the UFC or did they approach you?

We have a great working relationship with the UFC. There are some things we come up with on our own that we pitch to them and some things that they will ask us for that we do per their request.

5.  Is this a computer program you developed specifically for MMA?

I should clarify that FightMetric is not a computer program; it’s just the name of a company that provides statistics and analysis services. But yes, the system was developed specifically for MMA. As we’ve learned, MMA is a complex and unique sport. Attempts to cut corners by borrowing ideas from other sports have largely failed because of the unique nature of MMA. There’s enough here to keep us busy for a while.

6.  Can you tell us the growth of your business? How long has it taken to get to where you are at now as a company?

The company is a little more than three years old. It started as more of a hobby, but it became clear very quickly that this was something people wanted. We’ve grown tremendously during a brief amount of time and are looking forward to innovate in this space for a long time to come.

7.  Have fighters/fight camps asked for the data to use in their training?

Yes, there are several camps that utilize the data. They use it to optimize training and supplement scouting of upcoming opponents.

8.  How many full-time (part-time) employees do you have?

We are a lean, global operation. We have a few full-time employees, but the vast majority of the people who work for FightMetric do it part-time wherever they live. At this point, I think we have as many people working for us outside the US as we have domestically.

9.  Do you see FightMetric being used for fantasy type sports?

Yes, we have already done more than a year of research and development in the fantasy space. FightMetric is a proud member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association. We presented at the FSTA conference in June and were awarded the Best Pitch of the show. As anyone who tries to think about it will find, MMA presents a lot of challenges to fantasy gaming. For a variety of reasons, the traditional fantasy game models people play in other sports break down when you try to apply them to MMA. We looked at everything from baseball to bass fishing to find games that worked, but in the end, we’ve had to invent entirely new models to produce a game that plays consistently and is still fun. By utilizing sound game theory, real-life testers, and a whole lot of trial-and-error, we’ve come up with some great solutions.