The UFC has announced a partnership with U.S. Integrity, an independent company that analyzes betting data and identifies suspicious behaviour, to monitor wagering activity on Ultimate Fighting Championship fights.
News of the deal was announced by promotion officials in a press release distributed on Thursday.
Under the deal, U.S. Integrity will become the official integrity service for the promotion, effective immediately. The agreement covers the entirety of 2023, and includes all Ultimate Fighting Championship events, and Dana White’s Contender Series.
Thursday’s press release includes a statement from Riche T. McKnight, Executive Vice Present and General Counsel of UFC, noting that the promotion had discussions with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) ahead of the agreement. As previously reported by Cageside Press and other media outlets, UFC wagering was halted in the Province of Ontario as a result of betting irregularities stemming from a November 5, 2022 fight between Darrick Minner and Shayilan Neurdanbieke.
It was U.S. Integrity who first flagged the suspicious activity surrounding wagering on that fight, following online reports.
In a statement to Cageside Press in December, the AGCO wrote in part that it was “encouraged by [UFC’s] commitment to integrity. Protecting the betting public by providing the necessary safeguards against the risk of insider betting on event and wagering integrity is a high priority to the AGCO. We recognize the recent steps taken and are committed to engaging with Ontario’s gaming industry, UFC, the OLG, and iGaming Ontario to ensure that the UFC has the necessary betting integrity framework in place, in particular relating to wagering by UFC insiders.”
Cageside Press has reached out to the AGCO for their response to Thursday’s news; the organization announced the reinstatement of UFC betting in the province a short time later.
In announcing the partnership with U.S. Integrity, the UFC’s McKnight also noted that it had “made enhancements to our UFC Athlete Code of 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. 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.”
Athletes are expected to report any matters that raise integrity concerns, the press release added.
The investigation into the Nov. 5 Neurdanbieke vs. Minner fight remains ongoing, with numerous bodies reviewing the matter. Minner, who appeared to be injured from the outset of the fight, has since been released by the promotion. His coach, James Krause, has been suspended by both the Nevada Athletic Commission and the promotion, as has Glory MMA and Fitness fighter Jeff Molina. Krause, who ran a betting themed Discord known as the “1% Club,” which Molina was also reportedly involved in, has since stepped down from his role at Glory MMA and Fitness. He had allegedly also worked as an agent for an offshore sportsbook for years.
Fighters had previously been told by the promotion that those associated with Krause would not be allowed to compete, pending the outcome of the aforementioned investigations. That led many, including interim flyweight champ Brandon Moreno, to seek coaching elsewhere.