Jeff Molina is the latest Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter facing commission sanctions in relation to the expanding investigation into his head coach James Krause’ gambling activities (details here).
ESPN announced late last night (Sat., Dec. 24, 2022) that Molina has been suspended by Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC). That suspension is listed in the Association of Boxing Commissions database as, “uncategorized,” and few other details are available at this time. NSAC Executive Director, Jeff Mullen, refused to comment on the situation, “until the meeting support material is released.”
The next NSAC meeting is scheduled for mid-January.
Molina was originally set to face Jimmy Flick at UFC Vegas 67: “Imavov vs. Gastelum” on Jan. 14, 2023. Then UFC announced that all fighters training under Krause would be banned from competing in UFC while an investigation into suspicious betting activity was underway. While several other Krause-affiliated fighters quickly switched camps, Molina chose to withdraw from his bout with Flick instead.
Molina is the third individual suspended by NSAC in relation to a suspicious betting line movement in the hours before a fight between the Krause-trained Darrick Minner and Shayilan Nuerdanbieke. Minner lost the bout via first round technical knockout after injuring his knee, and it’s believed that individuals with prior knowledge of that injury ran a scheme to pump as much money as possible through bookies for a Nuerdanbieke win, either within the distance or as specifically as via first round (technical) knockout.
During a December NSAC meeting, the commission specified that, as it stands, Krause and Minner were suspended for failing to disclose Minner’s knee injury. But, with several gambling watchdog organizations and the FBI investigating, further violations could be forthcoming.
ESPN noted that Molina is “linked” to the current investigation that Minner vs. Nuerdanbieke kicked off.
Dana White on fight fixing in MMA: Huge concern. Now it is.pic.twitter.com/MWINlS2A9X— Jed I. Goodman © (@jedigoodman) December 13, 2022
It’s unclear exactly where Molina figures into the whole scandal. He could just be standing firm by his long-time coach and forcing UFC and NSAC to follow through on their blacklist of Krause during this larger investigation. There’s certainly a possibility that he was involved, as he was a part of Krause’s gambling Discord server, a guest on Krause’s gambling podcast, and was a self-described, “MMA gambling degenerate” as per his Twitter bio.
Molina is currently 11-2 MMA and 3-0 in UFC as a Flyweight. His fight with Aori Qileng at UFC 261 was awarded “Fight of the Night” honors, and his next fight featured a heartwarming moment where his sick father got to celebrate his win. In Molina’s last fight, he became the first male athlete on UFC’s roster to rock the special LGBTQ+ Pride Month uniform with rainbow-colored writing.