In the middle of an investigation into potential fight fixing, the UFC has announced a partner to monitor betting activity on its fights.
U.S. Integrity now is the promotion’s official integrity service, the UFC announced Thursday. The company will be “capable of identifying and analyzing unusual wagering activity as indicative of possible integrity concerns,” a news release said.
The deal runs through all of 2023 and cover all UFC fights, including those on the UFC-branded Dana White’s Contender Series.
U.S. Integrity is a Las Vegas-based company that “detects and discourages fraud, match-fixing, game manipulation, and other unethical or illegal betting-related activity,” according to its website. Its clients include Major League Baseball, the NBA and major college conferences.
“There is no greater responsibility we have to our athletes, fans and business partners than to ensure the integrity of our sport,” Riche T. McKnight, the UFC’s executive vice president and general counsel, said in a release. “U.S. Integrity will help us strengthen our existing best practices by applying their expertise in data intelligence to proactively identify irregular bout-level wagering patterns. This information can inform UFC’s response and can be preemptively shared with sports books, who can make informed decisions as to whether or not halt betting on a particular bout.”
A Nov. 5 fight between Darrick Minner and Shayilan Nuerdanbieke is the center of a major investigation by multiple agencies, including at the federal level. An unusual amount of bets came in on Nuerdanbieke in late wagering, including props for Nuerdanbieke to finish the fight and win in less than half a round. Minner quickly appeared to hurt his leg in Round 1 and was finished soon after with strikes.
In the wake of the bout, multiple gaming commissions in North America halted wagering on UFC events when the investigations began. Minner was released from his contract, and the UFC in December banned its fighters from associating with Krause or training at his gym. Another Krause fighter, Jeff Molina, who was scheduled for a Jan. 14 fight, later was suspended and released, as welll
Krause has yet to comment, but a report published a week ago by ESPN said Krause served as an agent for ABCBetting.ag since at least 2019 and offered a line of credit and referral kickbacks and took payments through Venmo or Paypal for his inside-the-game betting advice.
Prior to the implementation of anti-wagering language in the UFC’s fighter code of conduct, which was edited in October, Krause admitted to betting on fights, even those he was involved in (per The MMA Hour). Krause mentioned he took over other bettors’ accounts, seen as a potential method to evade betting limits.
Krause branded a podcast “1% Club,” which discussed picks, predictions and bets. He had a “1% Club” subscription-based chat group on the social platform Discord. According to the report Thursday, Molina was part of the Discord and encouraged others to join.
“He’s trained w/ a lot of the fighters, lives and breathes this sport as a coach/fighter, & at times has the scoop on injuries — non-announced matchups — how fighters look like in camp, etc.,” Molina reportedly wrote in the group. “In stocks, this is called insider trading, in MMA betting it’s called James Krause. For the last 6 months, all my bills including mortgage and car note have been paid via Krause’s picks. Do yourself a favor and join the VIP.”
McKnight said the UFC has continued to strengthen its stance after the revelation of the investigations and alleged improprieties.
“We have made enhancements to our UFC Athlete Conduct Policy to more clearly express the prohibition against any UFC athlete from placing any wagers directly or through a third party on any UFC match, including placing wagers on themselves,” McKnight said. “We have also expanded our discussion of so-called ‘UFC Insiders’ to make clear that these same prohibitions against wagering apply to an athlete’s coaches, managers, handlers, athletic trainers and other individuals affiliated with the athletes or UFC, and that violations by these insiders may result in disciplinary action against related contract athletes.
“Finally, we have reiterated our expectation that our contract athletes will come to us to report any matters that might raise integrity concerns. We thank the AGCO for their cooperation, and we look forward to continuing to work with them to ensure the integrity of our sport for the benefit of our athletes and our fans.”