UFC Fight Under Investigation for Possible Match Fixing

  • Shayilan Nuerdanbieke defeated Darrick Minner via first round TKO
  • Sportsbooks in several states received large bets right before the event
  • U.S. Integrity is currently conducting an investigation into the matter
  • Minner’s coach, James Krause, has close ties to the betting industry
UFC bout
A UFC fight is the subject of a probe from a betting integrity agency after suspicious bets were received in the hours leading up to the bout. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A quick finish

A Saturday night UFC fight between Darrick Minner and Shayilan Nuerdanbieke is being investigated by a betting integrity firm after several sportsbooks received suspicious wagers.

large sums of money deposited in multiple states

The featherweight bout ended 1:07 into the first round after Nuerdanbieke landed a series of blows to the head while straddling Minner on the ground, prompting the referee to intervene. The quick finish combined with the large sums of money deposited in multiple states have prompted investigative scrutiny.

Nuerdanbieke moved from a -220 to a -420 favorite in the hours leading up to the fight after rumors that Minner was injured leaked. A few sportsbooks took so much money on the Chinese fighter to win and for the fight to last fewer than 2.5 rounds that they took the fight off their betting menus, according to Vegas-based U.S. Integrity. The UFC said that it is conducting a “thorough review.”

UFC betting in question

Whether or not the rumors were true, Minner’s loss appeared to be the result of an in-fight injury or aggravation of the existing injury less than 30 seconds into the fight. A teasing left kick to the body came up a little short and caused his toe to strike Nuerdanbieke’s hip, sending a shock traveling up his leg. Minner wobbled and nearly fell to the ground and quickly backed up, giving space for the favorite to move forward and pounce.

The loss confirmed the fears of the sportsbooks, which had reached out to U.S. Integrity in the hours just before the fight as money was pouring in on Nuerdanbieke. U.S. Integrity then conducted a quick analysis and warned state regulators and betting operators. 

the influx of money did not stop even after odds were moved to less desirable prices

Reports show that the influx of money did not stop even after odds were moved to less desirable prices, which ultimately led to them being withdrawn from several betting markets. 

Bettors usually have “do not cross” lines for gambling in different markets, and for many, -200 serves as that threshold. The constant flow of money despite the juiced odds made the wagers all the more suspicious.

President of U.S. Integrity Matthew Holt said that an investigation is ongoing, but details cannot be made public. 

“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 to 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.”

Response and key figures

The UFC released a statement Monday addressing the ongoing investigation and suspect wagers.

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

Minner’s coach, James Krause, is a retired fighter and regular sports gambler that hosts the “1% Club” podcast and runs a popular Discord channel for sports bettors. 

Minner himself has now lost three straight fights, while Nuerdanbieke has won three straight after starting his UFC career with a unanimous decision loss. The fighters have lifetime MMA records of 26-14 and 39-10, respectively.

The UFC banned its fighters from betting on in-house fights last month, joining a majority of professional sports leagues around the world, which adds yet another layover of intricacy to the ongoing situation.

As the UFC attempts to sort out its controversy, the FA is also investigating Brentford star Ivan Toney for allegedly betting on games during his days outside of the English Premier League.

The next UFC Card, UFC 281, features reigning middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and challenger Alex Periera. The champ is a -188 favorite to his opponent’s +146.