The UFC used to be so small a fan could show up at an event and randomly meet and even hang out with some the event's biggest stars and their entourages. A friend of mine was once a UFC judge, and I wandered in and sat with cageside for the entire show. It's not like that any longer, but at UFC on ESPN 12 this weekend, one fan did get to meet a fighter he had a particular interest in.
But he had to bet $37,000 on her league debut.
Invicta FC strawweight Kay Hansen, 20, and former atomweight champ Jinh Yu Frey, 35, each made their UFC debut on Saturday night. Frey's previous fight was a title defense of her 105 belt, but she missed weight, won, and was stripped of her belt.
Hansen was a -185 favorite, and a fan put $37,000 on her, which would lead to a $20,017 profit. However, Hansen lost Round 1, leaving the commentators to point out that that bettor must be sweating bullets. But Hansen turned things around in Round 2, and subbed Frey in Round 3, winning a $50,000 performance bonus in the process.
Hansen knew about the bet and discussed it immediately post-fight.
“I saw that like 45 minutes before my fight,” she said, as transcribed by Ryan Harkness for MMA Mania. “That’s so crazy to me. I mean, I don’t know who did it. But that’s a lot of money to bet on someone making their UFC debut. But congrats to them, I guess ... It didn’t put any pressure on me because that’s your choice. I’m not responsible for fulfilling that. But I mean, it is cool to see people putting that kind of faith in me in a way, I guess. But really crazy for sure.”
And then two happened to meet as they left Vegas.
So the moral of the story is that the days of Frankhhh going to Burger King with Team Tito are long gone, but you can still meet a fighter you care about, if you have $37k to bet. And whoever that bettor is, let's call him Frankhhh, congratulations!