UFC threatens fighters who bet on bouts with fines, suspension or termination

The UFC announced a new partnership with ProhiBet to crack down on fighters and other insiders who may try to bet on fights.

By: Nate Wilcox | 3 weeks ago
UFC threatens fighters who bet on bouts with fines, suspension or termination
IMAGO | FOTOARENA by Reinaldo Reginato

The UFC today announced a collaboration “designed to safeguard sports integrity and ensure the adherence to state-specific regulations” by fighters and other insiders who may attempt to bet on fights.

UFC to rely on ProhiBet to ‘monitor specific individuals’

The collaborator is ProhiBet, “the sports betting industry’s only comprehensive solution that monitors prohibited bettor activity” the company “will play a pivotal role in monitoring specific individuals such as UFC athletes, coaches, employees, and officials who are prohibited from placing bets on UFC events.”

Matt Heap, ProhiBet’s managing director said, “the combination of ProhiBet’s state-of-the-art encrypted data transfer system and UFC’s dedication to upholding the integrity of sports will undoubtedly enhance the transparency and trustworthiness of sports betting activities.”

UFC’s efforts come as FBI investigation continues

Things got serious last November when a bout between Shayilan Nuerdanbieke vs. Darrick Minner drew the attention of The UFC, Nevada State Athletic Commission, U.S. Integrity and even the F.B.I.

As we reported at the time, “the Nuerdanbieke vs. Minner contest is under investigation because of suspicious betting before the fight and a possible injury-reporting infraction.

“U.S. Integrity, an organization that identifies “suspicious behavior by analyzing changes in betting data against a benchmark of normal betting activity,” alerted sportsbooks that in the hours before UFC Vegas 64, the line of the fight had moved from Nuerdanbieke being a -220 favorite to a -420 favorite. The organization also noticed that bets were coming in on Nuerdanbieke to win via first-round knockout, although he had zero KO wins during his three previous UFC outings.

“Nuerdanbieke won the fight by knockout 67 seconds into the first round.

“During the brief bout, Minner’s actions led many to believe he entered the fight sporting a previously undisclosed injury. The NSAC is investigating that aspect of the contest, while the UFC (via its integrity partner, Don Best Sports), U.S. Integrity and now, reportedly, the FBI are looking into the betting that surrounded the matchup.”

Minner, his coach James Krause, and teammate Jeff Molina were all suspended by the NSAC following the bout.

Krause spoke openly about betting on fights

Krause drew attention to himself by going on The MMA Hour and stating, “I bet every single card, just about every fight,” Krause said. “… I make more money gambling on MMA than I do anything else. I don’t make sh*t on coaching, absolutely not. If you’re talking about time, if I go out on a Wednesday to Sunday (to corner fighters), I make 10 percent of (a guy’s purse) – if we’re not talking about Brandon Moreno, most of my guys are entry level guys making ($12,000 to show/$12,000 to win), 14/14. I have some guys making in the 20s. Even at that, 10 percent of 20 grand is $2,000. I’m on the road every weekend Wednesday through Sunday. It’s not even close.”

UFC compliance training video sent to fighters

ESPN reported that “UFC fighters also will be sent a compliance training video Wednesday regarding sports betting, presented by U.S. Integrity. The video states that prohibited bettors include “anyone with inside knowledge of participants in MMA matches.”

“These prohibited insiders can be a coach, manager, handler, athletic trainer, medical professional staff, relative living in the same household as an athlete and/or any person with access to non-public information regarding participants in any match,” the video says.

“The video states in a graphic that U.S. Integrity “identified a potential illegal betting ring organized by a prominent MMA trainer,” with a photo of Krause above it. The graphic states that U.S. Integrity “turned over all anonymous tips, including details of the illegal ‘bookie’ operation, to the appropriate authorities who issued subpoenas for all involved individuals.”

“Another graphic states that, in June 2022, U.S. Integrity identified a fighter who bet on himself for a fight on “Dana White’s Contender Series” with a photo of Dennis Buzukja above the text. The video says the agency has “identified several fighters who bet on themselves.”

“In many instances, these fighters did not realize they were not only violating state regulations, but also state laws by wagering on their own event,” the video says.

“The video adds that, according to the UFC athlete conduct policy, any wagering on UFC fights individually or through a third party could lead to offenders facing “contractual penalties, suspension or termination.”

One problem comes in defining ‘UFC coach’

MMA writer Ben Fowlkes posted some commentary on X (formerly Twitter) that is germane.

“Again, one problem with this is that there is really nothing that officially designates someone as a UFC coach. UFC doesn’t pay or choose the coaches. Fighters often train at multiple gyms and are around tons of coaches. How do you enforce that?

“There are a lot of ways that the UFC is a microcosm of this moment in American capitalism but one glaring example is how the company shifts operating costs onto the workers. Making them responsible for paying their own coaches the same way Uber drivers are for maintaining cars,” Fowlkes wrote.

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About the author
Nate Wilcox
Nate Wilcox

Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of BloodyElbow.com. As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

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