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UFC responds to ‘suspicious betting’ investigation, denies ‘unethical or irresponsible’ behavior

MMA: AUG 16 UFC - Dana White’s Contender Series Photo by Amy Kaplan/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

U.S. Integrity recently opened an investigation into the “suspicious” gambling activity that occurred ahead of the Shayilan Nuerdanbieke vs. Darrick Minner fight at UFC Vegas 64. Just hours before the event, the pre-fight betting line saw a colossal shift in favor of Nuerdanbieke to win by first-round knockout.

Minner appeared to injure his knee and was finished in just over a minute.

The Monday morning quarterbacks are currently debating “fixed fight” vs. “insider knowledge” to account for the last-minute money. In addition, Minner’s head coach and former UFC fighter James Krause has been singled out for his ties to the gambling community and its potential conflict of interest.

UFC doesn’t sound overly concerned.

“Like many professional sports organizations, UFC works with an independent betting integrity service to monitor wagering activity on our events,” officials wrote in a prepared statement (via ESPN). “Our betting integrity partner, Don Best Sports, a leading global supplier of real-time betting data for North American sporting events, will conduct a thorough review of the facts and report its findings. At this time, we have no reason to believe either of the athletes involved in the bout, or anyone associated with their teams, behaved in an unethical or irresponsible manner.”

The promotion banned fighter gambling just last month.

It’s not uncommon for late money to come pouring in for UFC fights and a variety of factors influence how gamblers spend their money. What makes the Nuerdanbieke vs. Minner fight “suspicious” is the fact that bettors continued to invest in “Wolverine” even after the dramatic line shift made it financially unreasonable to do so.

Nuerdanbieke opened at -200 and ballooned to as high as -450.

“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 [an alert] a couple hours before the fight started, we may have helped prevent some more suspicious bets from getting through.”

Expect to hear more on this matter in the coming weeks, if not sooner.

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