Is UFC Fight Fixing Widespread?

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Has UFC fight fixing become a problem? There’s a growing segment of MMA fans that are questioning the integrity of the UFC.

The UFC is still working through a betting scandal that rocked the sport late last year. There have also been some questionable decisions leading to UFC fight fixing allegations.

The UFC has dealt with fight fixing allegations since the promotion started, but this feels different. 

The FBI, Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) and numerous gaming commissions are actively investigating the UFC over concerns of integrity and every fight in 2023 will be watched closely.

Betting Scandal Leads to UFC Fight Fixing Allegations

Last year, there was growing concern among sports betting regulators that insider betting was leading to suspicious betting activity. Without any advanced notice, the UFC added a “Wagering” amendment to its Athlete Code of Conduct banning fighters and insiders from wagering on any fights on October 17th 2022.

UFC Vegas 64 (UFC Fight Night 214) took place on November 5th 2022.

Sportsbooks noticed suspicious betting activity leading up to a fight between Darrick Minner and Shayilan Nuerdanbieke. This led to the betting odds for multiple markets moving drastically hours before the fight.

Average odds on Nuerdanbieke to win moved from -237 to -362, odds on Nuedanbieke to win by TKO/KO moved from +300 to +155 and there was also a lot of “unusual betting interest” on under 2.5 rounds.

Nuerdanbieke ended up knocking out Minner in 67 seconds after Minner was injured throwing a kick. It turns out Minner went into the fight without disclosing a knee injury.

Due to the undisclosed injury, result and unusual betting activity, UFC fight fixing suspicions were raised and investigations into the fight started immediately.

Is James Krause Involved in Fixing UFC Fights?

Minner was coached by James Krause. Krause was on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani in August 2022 stating he bets on just about every fight and makes more money betting on fights than anything else.

Krause also advertised his “The 1% Club” UFC betting Discord channel with 2000+ members. He boasted about taking over members’ sportsbooks accounts and playing for them.

U.S. Integrity (betting integrity firm) opened an investigation into the fight the next day. The UFC stated they would conduct a “thorough review” into the fight the following day.

Initially, Dana White tried downplaying the scandal in November.

On November 19th 2022, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) told sportsbooks in the state that they’re no longer allowed to take bets on any fights involving Krause.

On December 1st 2022, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) banned UFC wagering. On December 2nd 2022, the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) banned UFC wagering.

UFC betting has since been reinstated in Ontario and Alberta.

After gaming commissions started taking action, the UFC and White took the scandal more seriously.

Krause, Minner and Molina Suspended

Investigations into the fight have led to the NAC suspending Minner and Krause indefinitely. Minner was also released from his UFC contract. Fighters are also prohibited from fighting if they’re coached by Krause or train at his gym. Jeff Molina has also been suspended indefinitely due to the investigation.

It has been alleged that Molina was substantially involved in the Krause betting scandal.

On January 19th 2023, the UFC announced that U.S. Integrity would become an official partner to monitor the betting activity for every fight. The deal is for this year only, but will likely be extended.

ESPN released an in-depth report last month where anonymous sources allege that Krause has been working as a “betting agent” for offshore sportsbook ABCBetting.ag since at least 2019.

Krause has yet to comment on the scandal and investigations are ongoing, but things aren’t looking good for the coach and former UFC fighter. I expect a lot more to come out about this betting scandal.

Former UFC fighter Brendan Schaub has said this story runs a lot deeper than many assume. Is UFC fight fixing more widespread?

UFC Judges Need to Be Held Accountable to Restore Legitimacy

It’s not just the betting scandal hurting the legitimacy of the UFC.

A lot of UFC fans and fighters are growing increasingly upset with judging. I’ve always been of the belief that fighters need to finish fights to guarantee victory, but some of these recent decisions are unjustifiable.

There’s no denying the UFC push certain fighters and build hype with the goal of cashing in. They can’t cash in if the fighters they’re hyping are losing. Are the string of high-profile questionable decisions the result of UFC judges making mistakes or something more sinister?

Bad Decisions – UFC Fight Fixing or Judge Mistakes?

Let’s take a look at a couple results from 2022 that have garnered a lot of attention:

  • Paddy Pimblett Defeats Jared Gordon (Unanimous) at UFC 282

The most contested decision of the year was Pimblett winning unanimously against Gordon. Pimblett had three more significant strikes (63 vs. 60), but Gordon landed more strikes (100 vs. 97), takedowns (3 vs. 0) and he dominated in control time (6:28 vs. 0:35). Somehow all the judges scored in favor of Pimblett.

  • Sean O’Malley Defeats Petr Yan (Split) at UFC 280

This result wasn’t as egregious as the first, but all of the media except for one had this fight going to Yan, with many scoring the fight 30-27. O’Malley landed a lot more significant strikes (84 vs. 58), but Yan had more total strikes (97 vs. 91), more takedowns (6 vs. 1) and more control time (5:44 vs. 0:02).

Poor judging has been a problem in the UFC for years. A lot of the questionable decision wins handed out by judges benefit the fighter that appears to be better from a business and marketing perspective.

That could simply be a coincidence, but it should be investigated further. UFC judges are never punished for making mistakes or having poor judgment and that needs to change to fix credibility with fans.

I also believe part of the problem is that UFC scoring is very subjective. There’s also little consistency in what matters the most when scoring fights and that needs to change in the future.

There isn’t a widespread UFC fight fixing problem, but it’s important to investigate abnormalities and punish any guilty offenders so that it deters future fighters or coaches from fixing fights.

We’ll continue to follow the UFC investigations and provide any major updates.