James Krause Accused of Inside Betting on UFC Fighters Leading to a UFC Betting Ban in Ontario, Canada
The sports betting world in Ontario, Canada, has instituted massive changes regarding betting on the outcome of UFC fighters and their bouts in the past few weeks. Regulators in the province requested that all their sportsbook licensees remove the UFC category from their platforms with immediate effect. This is in lieu of the accusation of inside betting and match-fixing among coaches and UFC fighters.
Those bookies that do not remove UFC betting from their sites would find themselves in breach of the compliance rules and could face losing their licenses to operate in the newly regulated region.
James Krause and UFC Fighter Bets – What Transpired?
The evening of the 5th of November is when everything started. The fight between Derrick Minner and Shayilan Neurdanbieke concluded in a loss for Minner. There were rumors of his fitness from the start, with the widespread belief that Minner was injured going into the bout. As such, the UFC fighter faced disciplinary action from the UFC and was dismissed on the 2nd of December.
The scandal unfolds as James Krause, Minner’s coach, has openly admitted that he engages in betting on UFC fighters and even commented on the fact that he makes more from betting than from anything else he does. So, when Minner went down in the first round, sportsbooks became suspicious of match-fixing.
When rumors of Minner’s injury were made apparent, the odds at the bookmakers were heavily in favor of Neurdanbieke taking the bout in the first two rounds. This has put James Krause in the firing line. As such, he has had his license suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) and has even had the FBI come knocking. They confiscated his iPads, computers, and mobile devices to conduct their investigation. If found guilty of these actions, he could face some real jail time.
How US Bookies Have Reacted
Instead of implementing a blanket ban on UFC betting, the New Jersey Division of Gambling merely banned betting on UFC fights involving James Krause. This seems to be a far more sensible approach, as it ensures that the blame stays with the perpetrator rather than marring the name of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and its management.
Many regulators, journalists, and bettors alike believe that Ontario (and now Alberta) has overreacted to the news and that the suspension of bets on UFC fighters was unnecessary, especially given the fact that James Krause has not been tried yet.
WHAT AGCO HAS TO SAY ABOUT BETTING ON UFC FIGHTERS
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) seems it would prefer to err on the side of caution and protect its betting public. They issued a formal statement:
“Contrary to the Registrar’s Standards, the UFC does not prohibit all insiders from betting on UFC events, which could include an athlete’s coaches, managers, handlers, athletic trainers, medical professionals, or other persons with access to non-public information.
“In recent weeks, the AGCO has learned of publicized alleged incidents, including possible betting by UFC insiders, as well as reports of suspicious betting patterns in other jurisdictions.
“Therefore, the AGCO is now taking this step in the public interest. AGCO has indicated to operators that, once the necessary remedial steps have been taken, they may provide information demonstrating that UFC bets or betting products meet the Registrar’s Standards.”
This statement comes despite the reforms made to the MMA company’s code of conduct in October that officially banned UFC fighters, their managers, coaches, and staff from betting on the outcomes of bouts. Ontario’s sentiment reveals that they do not believe that the UFC betting ban is far-reaching enough. The mere fact that James Krause was allowed to carry on his betting practices is testimony to the lack of failsafes in this regard.
The UFC has answered the action of both Canadian regulators, promising to work towards complying with the Registrar’s standards. They said:
“UFC will continue to take all necessary and appropriate steps to ensure compliance with and enforcement of its policies and those of the jurisdictions in which it operates.”
The UFC’s Reaction to the News
The UFC is not protecting James Krause following concerns about his integrity in the sport. Following the NSAC’s suspension of his corner license, the UFC has issued a statement in which they have warned UFC fighters that they will receive temporary bans from the championship if they remain in any way involved with Krause.
“UFC has since advised Krause and the respective managers working with impacted fighters, that effective immediately, fighters who choose to continue to be coached by Krause or who continue to train in his gym, will not be permitted to participate in UFC events pending the outcome of the aforementioned government investigations.”.
“Along with the safety and health of its fighters, UFC believes there is no more important component of professional mixed martial arts than the integrity of the sport.”
James Krause has a far-reaching effect on the world of MMA. Despite this, he was not allowed to stand in the corner for both the Miles Johns’ and Vince Morales’ fights in late November. With the latest warning from the UFC, these fighters better find new coaches for now if they want to remain in the UFC.
Aside from Johns and Morales, James Krause readied Gage Young, Gina Mazany, and Alexa Culp for the upcoming FAC17 competition. The FAC is trying its best to distance itself from Krause and the three UFC fighters best do the same to save their careers in the short term, at least.
Is Ontario Over-Reacting?
While the opinions deviate quite considerably, you would have thought that the betting regulator would have left the decision to the authorities in Nevada to handle before making such a serious decision about cutting out the UFC. After all, it’s a huge loss of potential income for the province’s operators.
However, AGCO is not alone in their concerns, with Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis following the same route and banning bets on UFC fighters as from the first week in December. Reports suggest that wagers on PlayAlberta.ca have been voided and returned to bettors. They would also be monitoring the UFC’s actions going ahead before re-instating bets on their fights.