It’s been 10 months since the UFC gambling probe, what happened?

The federal investigation into the UFC over suspicious gambling practices has been underway since late last year, so where are we at with it?

By: Stephie Haynes | 2 months ago
It’s been 10 months since the UFC gambling probe, what happened?
UFC fighter James Krause has been at the center of a massive gambling scandal. IMAGO/Fotoarena

Since last year, the UFC has been embroiled in a gambling probe after betting fraud allegations were made against a Glory MMA fighter, Darrick Minner. Gym owner and team coach James Krause has become front and center to the investigation. As a result, Krause’s license was suspended and seemingly will remain so while the case is underway.

Following Krause’s suspension, the UFC announced that any fighter who continued to remain with the team and under Krause’s tutelage wouldn’t be able to compete inside the Octagon until the case was concluded. It wasn’t long after that the UFC introduced rules that prevented athletes, coaches, and their close family from betting on UFC events. Krause ultimately sold his gym and all its affiliates to Joe Wooster of FAC MMA.

Did UFC take further steps?

Those rules the UFC instituted to prevent UFC fighters and those close to them from wagering on the promotion’s bouts were made available via company memo to fighters and their management. And the language was added to the company’s code of conduct policy, as well—although much of the regulations in that policy seemingly haven’t been enforced for years. They even went the extra mile by adding these new stipulations into their fighter contracts. Bloody Elbow financial analyst John Nash quoted the relevant sections of the most current UFC contract:

“Athletes are prohibited from placing any wagers on themselves. In most states with legalized sports betting, wagering by a UFC athlete directly or through a third party on any UFC match is illegal and may result in criminal sanction. Athletes should also be aware that in most states, these same prohibitions apply to some or all of:

1. relatives living in the same household as an athlete

2. an athlete’s coaches, managers, handlers, athletic trainers, medical professionals and staff

3. any other person with access to non-public information regarding participants in any UFC match

Any athlete that becomes aware or has knowledge of any wagering in violation must immediately notify UFC of any such incident in accordance with this UFC athlete conduct policy.

Just above the wagering paragraph are standards of conduct that apply to this, as well. They read as follows: In addition, sanctions, contractual penalties, and/or contractual termination may be imposed for misconduct, which includes, without limitation, the following examples, and amongst that long list of examples, is wagering on any UFC match, either directly or through a third party. So, if you wager on a UFC match as a fighter, they’ve got it written in the contract, you can’t do that. And on top of that, you can have penalties leveled upon you, including sanctions, contractual penalties, and contractual termination.”

Are they enforcing their rules?

Fast forward to this past April at UFC 287 when Sam Hughes revealed that her boyfriend had bet $1000 on her to win. It was said on video during the post-fight press conference and noted by several in the media. To my knowledge, no penalty was levied against Hughes.

In stark contrast, less than two weeks ago, the Indianapolis Colts waived defensive end Rashod Berry and cornerback Isaiah Rodgers Sr. due to violations of the Colts gambling policy. General manager Chris Ballard had this to say:

“We have made the following roster moves as a consequence of the determination that these players violated the league’s gambling policy. The integrity of the game is of the utmost importance. As an organization we will continue to educate our players, coaches, and staff on the policies in place and the significant consequences that may occur with violations.”

Just a few days ago, MMA journalist Mike Russell posted on Twitter that he’d heard the investigation into James Krause was still developing and that the FBI “has been contacting select fighters with offers of financial compensation and immunity to inform on involved parties.”

There is currently a huge betting scandal surrounding college baseball, more specifically, the Crimson Tide team from Alabama, as well. From the looks of things, every sport with ‘no-gambling’ clauses seems to take violations of their policies very seriously, but the UFC didn’t even offer a comment when Hughes made her proclamation. Call me crazy, but if there’s a full-scale investigation going on, one that could be broadening its net, shouldn’t the UFC care more about enforcing their own rules?

It’s no surprise that things are crawling along slowly, and the UFC has taken steps to remove their legal culpability over future gambling scandals. But it may take more than that to remove the betting culture that goes hand in hand with mixed martial arts and has been so eagerly adopted by many of its fighters.

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About the author
Stephie Haynes
Stephie Haynes

Stephie Haynes has been covering MMA since 2005. She has also worked for MMA promotion Proelite and apparel brand TapouT. She hosted TapouT’s official radio show for four years before joining Bloody Elbow in 2012. She has interviewed everyone there is to interview in the fight game from from Dana White to Conor McGregor to Kimbo Slice, as well as mainstream TV, film and music stars including Norman Reedus, RZA and Anthony Bourdain. She has been producing the BE podcast network since 2017 and hosts four of its current shows.

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