Fantasy Fights

Intelligent, unique MMA analysis

Going on hiatus… and why it’s a good thing

I’ve been thinking about this for a while. I love using statistics to solve problems and make predictions… but I’m not a statistician. Not really, anyway. I took a basic statistics class in high school and again in college. I have a good knowledge of basic statistical concepts… but when it comes to using data to make predictions, my knowledge is limited. I know how to do linear regression and logistic regression – which is a start.

The statistical approaches I’ve tried on this blog haven’t really been “statistics” as much as they’ve been “playing around with numbers until I come up with something that makes sense.” Much of what I’ve done would be described by Michael Lewis as “doing violence to the laws of statistics.”

I recently found a series of videos¬†and a free textbook by Stanford University professors Rob Tibshirani and Trevor Hastie about using statistical learning approaches (such as regression) to make predictions. It includes a lot of methods I’ve heard about but never learned… and I think it’s time to learn those methods and apply them to my UFC research.

Now, last week I decided to make myself well-informed about all of the fighters set to compete on UFC 180. In practice, that meant watching a lot of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America. While I was watching those fights, all I could think to myself was that I could be learning about statistics instead. In other words, that the time I was spending watching those fights was really being wasted. It probably didn’t help that I was watching fighters like Marco Beltran and Humberto Brown, who so obviously don’t belong in the UFC.

So I have two choices. Either I could continue making predictions and write-ups for every UFC card, leaving scarce time for statistical research, or I could dive into statistical research and come back later with a more advanced and sophisticated approach. I’ve chosen to do the latter. I don’t want to keep doing write-ups when I feel like my current methods aren’t good enough.

That means I’m going on a hiatus. In particular, I’m taking a hiatus from writing prediction pieces and doing degenerate gambling. I won’t be completely silent – I’ll keep you posted on my progress, and besides that, I’ve promised a rant about how the UFC has declined, and trust me when I say that rant is coming.

As always, I appreciate the continued support. Think of this as Luke Skywalker going back to Yoda to finish his training…

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9 responses to “Going on hiatus… and why it’s a good thing

  1. gambler November 16, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    i use fightmetrics and compubox when capping a fight but level of competition is as critical as well a injuries and other intrinsic factors

    youre hit a rough patch right now.

    nothing more.

    • David Williams November 16, 2014 at 4:27 pm

      I actually agree with you, but that doesn’t mean I can’t improve. I’m looking to do that right now. This is me doing what I want to do, not me overreacting to a losing streak (where gambling picks are concerned).

  2. r.mattioli November 16, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    sorry to hear of the hiatus…..hopefully if you have a few of your own opinions in the interim you`ll pop back in and offer some personal insight(btw,which I`ll do right now…lol)…I`m taking bobby green to overcome Edson Barbosa`s femur shattering kicks….I like green`s attitude and his well rounded skillset…I think he`s very confident and his fight vs josh tomson(a guy I consider a top tier talent) only reinforced my opinion…matter of fact,thomson may have edged that fight…still,i like green`s style and he seems like a guy that can adjust mid-fight….I think that Barbosa`s great kicking talent might somewhat hide only mediocre”hands” and grappling…I still think back to Jamie varner walking through him with excellent boxing and pressure…I think green has better skills and quicks than varner….

    g.l. with your research..i`ll continue to check in to see if you`ve decided you miss us to the point that the pain is just too much to deal with…

    g.l.

  3. Nick November 16, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Sad to see one of my favorite reads before every event going away… keep in touch David. Hopefully you’ll be back to breaking down fights again after a break. =)

  4. Dejan November 16, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    I’ll keep checking in, good luck with the courses!!

  5. Howard Morton November 17, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Stats will never work for MMA. I wrote that years ago.

  6. Mirko November 18, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    To bad you are going for some time but if you think this will help you, go ahead and try.
    I think your new model with estimating chances to win was pretty good but sometimes it’s all about luck. I would never dreamed that Werdum will KO Hunt.
    Anyways I think in future you should focus more on main fight and fighters you know better then wasting time writing review on TUF and bunch of nobodies who will probably never succeed in any weight class etc.
    I was watching tapes of unknown fighters before because I just had to know every fighter on main card and almost bet on everyone but that’s pointless.

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