Ontario Bans Betting on UFC Fights Due to Integrity Concerns

  • The AGCO stated that UFC is not compliant with the regulator’s betting integrity standards
  • UFC does not do enough to prevent insiders from wagering, according to the AGCO
  • The AGCO will work together with the various stakeholders to bring UFC betting back
  • A recent bout between Shayilan Nuerdanbieke and Darrick Minner raised eyebrows
UFC building
The AGCO has banned sportsbooks in Ontario from offering betting on UFC fights due to integrity issues. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A hard stance

Ontario residents can no longer legally place sports bets on UFC fights due to concerns over the integrity of the sporting body.

non-compliance with AGCO’s betting integrity requirements.”

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) announced the move on Thursday. The gaming regulator ordered all registered operators to stop accepting UFC wagers “due to non-compliance with AGCO’s betting integrity requirements.”

As per the AGCO’s rules, sports governing bodies need to enforce codes of conduct that stop insiders from engaging in betting while also implementing safeguards to prevent match-fixing.

Concerns over insider betting

In its press release announcing the ban on Thursday, the AGCO said UFC does not fully prohibit all insiders from wagering on its fights, such as coaches, handlers, medical professionals, managers, and other people who might have access to insider information.

The AGCO decided to take action due to a number of recent incidents, such as reports of suspicious betting patterns for fights and allegations of insiders betting on the outcome of bouts.

The AGCO is the overseer of Ontario’s regulated gambling industry that launched in April. It was the first Canadian province to launch a regulated online gambling sector involving private operators.

In a statement, AGCO CEO and registrar Tom Mungham asserted that insider betting rules are in place to protect the public. He also said that the UFC betting ban was not a decision that was made lightly as it’s a popular wagering market.

The AGCO said it is committed to working with sportsbook operators, the UFC, and other parties to try to bring about a return of UFC betting in the future once relevant improvements are made.

A recent suspicious incident

One recent UFC fight in the spotlight for the wrong reasons was a November 5 bout between Shayilan Nuerdanbieke and Darrick Minner. Numerous bodies began investigations into allegations of suspicious betting on the fight.

interest resulted in a significant shift in odds pre-fight

Various sportsbooks received unusual betting interest for two options: one for Neurdanbieke to knock out his opponent in the first round and the other for the fight to last less than 2.5 rounds. This interest resulted in a significant shift in odds pre-fight. Neurdanbieke won the bout by knockout after just 67 seconds in the first round.

The Nevada State Athletic Association is considering disciplining Minner for not disclosing certain information on his pre-fight medical form. Since then, the New Jersey regulator told its sportsbooks they can no longer offer betting on fights in which Minner’s coach James Krause has any sort of involvement.

It was only last month that the UFC officially announced fighters and members of their team cannot place bets on fights. Explaining the decision, UFC chief business officer Hunter Campbell said it was due to the direction from betting regulators. Fighters can still have gambling-related sponsors.