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Graphs of the Week (8/2/2021)

Does shorts color matter? What shorts color is the best? 

These are the kind of ridiculous questions we get asked all the time by casual fans who watch three fights a year and spend the rest of their Saturday nights arguing on Twitter about who the best Featherweight of all time is. The kind of people who put Jose Aldo #1 and don’t even list Volkanovski in their top five.  

Well we have finally decided to put these questions to the test and run some analyses to show why shorts color matters and which one is the best.

May we direct your attention to the table below, where we break down how we calculate the new greatest MMA metric of all time: S.T.Y.L.E. (Shorts Total Yield Less Expectation). It is a measurement of the actual increase in victory probability due to shorts color. 

To calculate S.T.Y.L.E. we do the following. First, we calculate the total expected wins per shorts color based on Draftkings odds. For example, Melsik Baghdasaryan was at -155 to win with his opponent Collin Anglin at odds of +135. After turning these into probabilities and taking out the spread we find that Draftkings has given Melsik a 59% chance of victory and Anglin a 41% chance. We therefore add 0.59 expected wins to White for Melsik and 0.41 expected wins to Black for Anglin. We then move to actual wins where we add 1.0 to White thanks to Melsik’s vicious head kick and 0.0 to Black. Once we have done this for all the fights in the Venum era, we can take actual wins less expected wins to see the overall over/underperformance of shorts colors. Once we have the total overperformance for all fights we then divide this by the number of fights each shorts color participated in to get S.T.Y.L.E. which like we said is the actual increase in victory probability due to shorts color. 

S.T.Y.L.E. shows us that White is the best shorts color. According to our analysis, fighters that wore White on average outperformed their expected probability of winning by 4.6 percentage points. Green was the worst thanks to Kyler Phillips and Rafa Garcia and we don’t want to talk about it.

We lied. We are going to talk about it. This is what the graph would look like if Rafa Garcia and Kyler Phillips had both won. Pain.

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