Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) recently released an edict banning its fighters and their respective teams from betting on mixed martial arts (MMA) fights. Now, we have an example of why it’s just a bad idea that opens to door to insider betting.
During UFC Vegas 64, Darrick Minner fell to Shayilan Nuerdanbieke via first round technical knockout. In the hours leading up to the fight, sportsbooks watched as a flood of money came in from bettors on Nuerdanbieke. And not just the money line on Nuerdanbieke, but the Chinese import to win in fewer than 2.5 rounds ... and even Nuerdanbieke to win via knockout in the first round.
So much action came in on “Wolverine” that he moved from a -220 favorite to -420 favorite. Nuerdanbieke won after Minner seemingly injured his knee little more than one minute into the Featherweight bout. The whole thing was suspicious enough that betting integrity firm, U.S. Integrity, opened an investigation into the incident and informed bookmakers of the situation.
“Our goal as always is to notify the industry of any potential nefarious, abnormal or suspicious activity as soon as possible, so they can take action as quickly as possible,” U.S. Integrity President, Matthew Holt, told ESPN. “In this case, we hope that by sending a couple hours before the fight started, we may have helped prevent some more suspicious bets from getting through.”
While it looks like news of Minner’s injured knee leaked from his camp in the hours leading up to fight night, there’s the added complication that the Nebraskan is coached by James Krause. The same James Krause who runs a betting picks service complete with a podcast and Discord server for paying members. In the past, he’s said he makes more money from gambling on UFC than he ever did fighting for the organization.
James Krause is still actively betting on fights and bragging about it. He is also betting on bouts involving fighters that he coaches. He asks people for their accounts to make bets and manipulate markets with a 100% win guarantee. How can one guarantee a 100% win in the UFC? pic.twitter.com/heAdOqSzen— Man of the Library (@ManOfTheLibrary) November 6, 2022
I am in his paid gambling group and I don't feel like anything like what you described is happening. He gives out his picks, usually later on Friday afternoon, and that's it. I don't think there is any pumping and dumping going on. Anywho.— Kirk Burelle (@KirkEvinRude21) November 6, 2022
There’s no clear evidence thus far that Krause bet on Minner to lose or told others to do it. But, once you see an extremely suspicious line move like that in a fight where a coach is deep into sports betting, it’s easy to let your imagination run wild as to what happened. UFC made a big announcement in mid-October specifically to avoid a situation like this, but it happened anyways.
Now, the sport will have to reckon with the sportsbook demon it has integrated into the broadcast so deeply.
What do you think, Maniacs? Is there more to this story than a couple of insiders getting word of Minner’s knee injury before the fight? Is this just another sign that sports betting has taken too deep of a hold of MMA?
For complete UFC Vegas 64 results and highlights click here.
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