ProfileGeek.com is a new data and analytics site featuring profiles and breakdowns of MMA fighters. My job entails plenty of stats and numbers. Most of the time, they aren’t stats that can be taken at face value and they typically require a great deal of interpretation. When trying to break down a UFC card I am looking at stat sheets, win records, and video for up to 24 fighters. Watching and analyzing videos of studs like Cain Velasquez and Georges St. Pierre is one of the best parts of my job so I try hard not to complain about it, but unpackaging statistics isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Some analysts look at the reach of two fighters, and say “since Jon Jones has a longer reach, he will have the advantage.” Anyone who understands the fallacy of “MMA math” knows that’s laughable. My favorite part of ProfileGeek is the interactivity of the profiles that display the information in a way so that you aren’t just looking at a page of numerals. It’s one thing to have pie charts and bar graphs, but it means something a whole lot more when the pages flow together.
The downside to the site is that you can tell that it is all computer generated within the code of the site. The software automatically assigns phrases to the fighters in the comparison section. By way of example, Anderson Silva’s profile says he is a “slow finisher”, but that phrase was obviously generated because of the time it’s taken him to end fights – an algorithm that fails to take into account the level of competition he’s finished as well as how dramatic those finishes were. Things like that could potentially turn off the historically finicky mixed martial arts fans. This is easily fixable, and it really just needs an analyst’s touch.
A lot of times when you read statistic sites with regards to MMA, it’s just a pile of numbers with outdated and selective information. When the numbers pile up, they all blur together, and the information becomes next to useless as you start to ponder things like “what numbers make up the ‘take down defense’ metric?” The devil is in the details when it comes to data and statistics, and a unique perspective and look is always appreciated. That’s exactly what ProfileGeek does, and as time goes by and more and more data enters the site, the stronger the information and platform will be. This site has all the tools and potential to be a very powerful implement, for everyone from fans to analysts.