Ontario reinstates gambling on UFC after promotion partners with firm to prevent betting fraud and corruption

The Canadian province suspended betting after some suspicious wagering on a November bout

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 05: Darrick Minner reacts after suffering an apparent injury against Shayilan Nuerdanbieke of China in a featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on November 05, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Darrick Minner's first-round loss to Shayilan Nuerdanbieke in November is still under investigation. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Ontario has reinstated betting on UFC events following the UFC’s partnership with U.S. Integrity, a company that uses technology to help protect against betting fraud and corruption. U.S. Integrity initially alerted sports books to potential wagering issues in a Nov. 5 UFC bout between Darrick Minner and Shayilan Nuerdanbieke.

Minner lost to Nuerdanbieke at 1:07 of the first round. Minner had an injured knee coming into the bout at Apex in Las Vegas but did not disclose it as required on forms submitted to the Nevada Athletic Commission.

Minner threw a kick at Nuerdanbieke early in the fight and went down in pain. Nuerdanbieke quickly finished the fight. U.S. Integrity had earlier in the day alerted sports books that there were an unusually high amount of bets on Nuerdanbieke to win in the first round.

Minner was coached by James Krause, a former UFC fighter who was open about wagering on UFC fights. The UFC released Minner, and the Nevada Athletic Commission suspended Krause, Minner and a fellow Krause-coached fighter, Jeff Molina, pending the results of an investigation into the betting controversy. Nevada’s suspension effectively makes it a country-wide ban since other states recognize each other’s suspensions.

The UFC had in November banned any of its fighters from training under Krause or at his gym, Glory MMA & Fitness, in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. That forced interim flyweight champion Brandon Moreno, who was training with Krause and fights for the undisputed title Saturday at UFC 283 against Deiveson Figueiredo, to leave the gym and find a new coach.

The Nevada Athletic Commission originally temporarily suspended Molina on Dec. 13 but did not clarify why it had done so. At its monthly meeting on Tuesday, a deputy attorney general said Molina “was involved in some substantial way in the gaming scheme currently under ongoing investigation related to James Krause … ”

The Canadian provinces of Ontario and Alberta fully suspended betting on the UFC events after the Minner fight and New Jersey prohibited its sports books from taking bets on fights involving Krause. Alberta in December resumed taking bets on UFC matches after fighters were barred from training with Krause, but Ontario did not until Thursday.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario on Thursday cited five actions the UFC had taken as reason for overturning the ban, including its partnership with U.S. Integrity. It noted the UFC had:

  • Amended its Athlete Conduct Policy to prohibit all insiders from placing any wagers directly or through a third party on any UFC match, including placing wagers on themselves.

  • Made clear that these same prohibitions against wagering apply to an athlete’s coaches, managers, handlers, athletic trainers, other individuals affiliated with the athletes or UFC and that violations by these Insiders may result in disciplinary action against related contract athletes.

  • Have provided assurances for enhanced monitoring and action against insider betting through the strengthening of their internal processes.

  • Reiterated their expectation that their contracted athletes report any matters that might raise integrity concerns.

  • Engaged in a betting integrity monitoring relationship with US Integrity, an independent sports integrity monitor registered with the AGCO, to identify and analyze unusual wagering activity as indicative of possible integrity concerns.

“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,” Riché T. McKnight, a UFC executive vice president and general counsel, said in a statement. “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.”