Sure, they are stigmatized as a haven for nerds and misfits. They are mocked widely by athletes, television commentators, even by soft drink commercials (how dare you Dr. Pepper).
But the truth?
Fantasy sports are as mainstream as it gets, literally a billion-dollar industry.
Unfortunately, for years, mixed martial arts fans have been left on the outside looking in. The sport was mostly ignored by the mainstream media, to the point MMA fans didn't even have a fantasy sports league of our own to inevitably infuriate us and force us to bore our friends with lame stories about our virtual careers as sports executives.
Yes, there were a handful of "picks" contests, but those are fantasy sports games in name only. Lacking the complexity of a good virtual showdown, they never seemed to gain much traction.
Enter Kountermove. Founder Aaron Ard explains the game:
"Our game is fairly simple on its face; our games are played over a single night during one event. Prior to the event, players get a total of $25,000 fantasy dollars and you get to pick five fighters for your team," Ard said. "Each fighter is given a specific price by Kountermove. We assign a value for each fighter based on how we believe the fight will go."
"Points are scored if your fighter scores a finish, wins a round, lands significant strikes, knocks an opponent down, scores takedowns, secures dominant positions or attempts submissions. The more dominant your fighter's performance, the more points you're going to score. If you score more points than your opponents, then you win the money."
This sounds simple, but it's nearly impossible to get just right. There is a steep, steep learning curve, but that's where I come in. Kountermove has provided a free game for my readers to enjoy. Play the game, get your feet wet and even win some cash if you choose wisely.
UFC on Fox 5 Fantasy Preview:
The UFC is giving us a Christmas gift early this year, one of the very best cards of 2012, absolutely free on Fox this Saturday. With that holiday spirit in mind, here are five tips, from me to you, that will hopefully put you near the prize money.
Tip 1: You want finishers over grinders. Even if Jon Fitch types are your favorites, they don't always pay off in fantasy. You get 100 points for a first-round finish, 75 for a second and 50 for a third. Picking guys who have the best chance to finish and finish early is a great way to win
Tip 2: There are exceptions...and a big one happens to pop up in the main event on Fox. You always, always, want to put a Diaz brother on your team. Even when they lose, the sheer volume of strikes tend to add up and score major points. Nate Diaz holds the Kountermove record for the most points by any fighter, scoring 149.5 points against Donald Cerrone earlier this year.
He throws a lot of punches during his fights and is very accurate. In other words, high-volume guys can be even more valuable than finishers, so keep an eye out for them.
Tip 3: Guys fighting in five-round bouts have more value than guys in three-round fights. That's just simple math—they have two extra rounds to score points. So choose a main eventer, dummy.
Tip 4: My underdog special is Matt Brown. I expect this to be a great fight with both fighters throwing bombs. Mike Swick has a submission and striking advantage but potentially is a bit behind in the wrestling department. If Swick can't finish quick, I like Brown to pull out a decision.
Tip 5: Best bet on the under-card is Daron Cruickshank. Not only is Cruickshank is bigger than Henry Martinez, he's also the better striker and the better wrestler. Overall, he is a superior fighter in pretty much every area. What's not to like?
Take a look at Kountermove and give the game a shot. It's free, and you can win some cash in my tournament. There is no financial relationship between Kountermove and Bleacher Report or Kountermove and me. I just believe in their product and think it is a game worth playing.
We all consider ourselves experts. Now's our chance to prove it. See you there.