Tuesday, November 29, 2022

UFC Statement on Suspicious Betting Activity Before Darrick Minner Bout

Darrick Minner and Shayilan Nuerdanbieke’s main card fight at UFC Vegas 64 is being investigated following reports of suspicious betting activity.

This past weekend, Nuerdanbieke extended his win streak to three with the first finish of his career inside the Octagon. He did so by dispatching Minner in just over a minute, with an apparent knee injury leading to the quick TKO.

But during the preliminary card for Saturday’s event, attention began to turn towards some significant line movement for the main card featherweight bout.

Prior to the card, Minner was +190 underdog. But in quick time, he dramatically dropped to +330. In the same vein, his Chinese counterpart moved from -220 to a -420 favorite. The hours before the matchup also saw bettors flock to back Nuerdanbieke via first-round knockout.

With the bout quickly ending after Minner’s knee gave way, suspicion grew, with many suggesting that the pre-existing injury was more than likely leaked to gamblers ahead of time.

Others, meanwhile, made more serious accusations, claiming that Minner intentionally threw the fight. According to ESPN, a source in Minner’s camp has confirmed that the 32-year-old was indeed carrying a knee issue into the event.

On Monday, the UFC released an official statement to ESPN. While the promotion noted that its betting integrity partner will be looking into the matter, it also said that there’s currently no evidence to suggest that either fighter or their teams ‘behaved in an unethical manner’.

“Like many professional sports organizations, UFC works with an independent betting integrity service to monitor wagering activity on our events,” the UFC’s statement read. “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.”

Prior to the UFC’s statement, it also emerged that another betting integrity firm is conducting an ongoing investigation into the UFC Vegas 64 bout.

Betting Integrity Firm Makes Note Of UFC Vegas 64 Bout

With sportsbooks growing suspicious over the late activity on the bout, which even led some to suspend betting on it, a U.S.-based integrity firm was contacted. The firm conducted an analysis of the increased and specific wagering, informing state gaming regulators and other sportsbook clients to the unusual activity.

With the line movements only becoming steeper as the fight drew nearer, U.S. Integrity is conducting an ongoing investigation into the matter. The firm’s president, Matthew Holt, told ESPN that attempts were made to prevent as many suspicious bets going through as possible once it became clear that something wasn’t right.

“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,” Holt said. “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.”

If any action is to be taken officially, U.S. Integrity will need to present any findings to regulators or other relevant authorities, as it doesn’t boast enforcement power of its own.

While James Krause, the manager of Minner who’s previously come under scrutiny for a betting scheme, is yet to make any comments, Minner’s manager simply told ESPN that he’s “unaware of anything like this.”

Given the UFC’s recent crackdown on fighter betting as it looks to enhance the sport’s integrity, it’s likely any incriminating conclusion will be taken seriously.

MMA News will provide updates to this developing story as additional information becomes available.