Iowa Commission Adds Dana White’s Contender Series To Approved Wagers

Written By Gage Miskimen on January 11, 2022

Mixed-martial arts fans have a few new betting options in 2022. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) added UFC President Dana White’s Contender Series as an approved wager on Nov. 4.

Dana White’s Contender Series joins UFC, Bellator, PFL and North Iowa Fights as betting options.

IRGC representative Simon Oliver said the event was added after commission staff identified the series as a “premier” league. He told PlayIA the commission staff originally excluded the Contender Series from bets because it was categorized as a minor league event.

“Upon digging deeper, staff determined the event is not a minor league event in the same fashion as minor league baseball.”

What is Dana White’s Contender Series?

The promotion is a live television series that airs on ESPN+. Regulators license it separately from the UFC.

UFC President Dana White uses the series to scout talent for the UFC and like the other UFC-adjacent, long-running series “The Ultimate Fighter,” none of the fighters have existing UFC contracts.

The promotion is a TV show that takes place in “seasons.” The seasons typically take place over the course of a couple of months. That means opportunities to place bets won’t be year-round.

The show held its first season in summer 2017. It has launched the careers of dozens of successful UFC fighters over the course of its five U.S. seasons and one Brazil season.

Notable DWCS fighters include:

  • Sean O’Malley
  • Alex Perez
  • Geoff Neal
  • Greg Hardy
  • Maycee Barber
  • Johnny Walker
  • Marina Rodriguez and others

What does Contender Series approval mean for Iowa bettors?

Iowa bettors will be able to place wagers on the UFC cards as soon as another season airs.

Currently, there is no set date or announcement of when the series will return, however. The last season aired from Aug.-Nov. 2021.

Oliver said that for bettors, it should be no different than betting on a UFC event. Look for all the same betting options as a UFC pay-per-view or “UFC Fight Night” on ESPN.

“While the event may be in a TV series format, the fights are still live. Betting menus should look fairly similar to that of a normally broadcasted UFC fight.”

A total of 154 athletes throughout the series have earned UFC contracts, according to ESPN. The UFC APEX in Las Vegas hosted the season 5 finale on Nov. 2.

Photo by Gregory Payan/ AP File Photo
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Gage Miskimen

Gage Miskimen is a journalist from Marion, Iowa, currently working at the Cedar Rapids Gazette. He graduated from the University of Iowa in 2019 and was editor of the award-winning Daily Iowan. He also previously worked for the Des Moines Register. Gage is a lifelong fan of combat sports and martial arts.

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