The UFC is pulling the cover off embattled MMA coach James Krause following betting and integrity concerns arising.
The organization announced Friday that fighters will be temporarily banned if they remain connected to Krause. The news comes after the Nevada State Athletic Commission suspended his corner license last month following his involvement in a Nov. 5 event that drew regulatory scrutiny.
“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,” a UFC statement read.
“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.”
It is the latest in a flurry of integrity-related sports betting news for the MMA organization, coming largely in response to the Nov. 5 bout. Last week, Ontario and Alberta regulators asked sportsbooks to remove UFC events from their betting menus because of integrity concerns.
UFC bout flagged in November
The NSAC decision will remain in place at least until after an investigation of a Nov. 5 fight between Darrick Minner and Shayilan Nuerdanbieke concludes. Krause coached Minner in the fight and the UFC released Minner.
Rumors he was hurt were out prior to the event, and heavy money was bet on Nuerdanbieke. There was also lots of money on the bout to last fewer than 2.5 rounds, according to ESPN. Neurdanbieke won by knockout in the first round.
Last month, the NSAC told ESPN Minner would face disciplinary action at its Dec. 14 meeting. Minner failed to disclose an injury before the bout.
UFC investigation underway
U.S. Integrity began investigating the fight last month after several sportsbooks reported suspicious activity. U.S. Integrity President Matthew Holt told LSR last week he cannot comment on ongoing investigations when asked about the recent influx in news.
It is not the first time Krause is at the heart of sports betting controversy. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement told sportsbooks last month they could no longer offer NJ sports betting on events involving Krause.
The former fighter reportedly is a known sports bettor and ran Discord and YouTube channels, which were taken down Nov. 24.
UFC bans fighter betting
In October, the organization changed its code of conduct to prohibit fighters, their coaches and other team members from betting on UFC fights. Before the change, the promoter had no sports betting rules.
Despite the UFC’s actions in October, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario does not believe it goes far enough, especially following the Nov. 5 fight:
“The AGCO takes the position that the bets and betting products related to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events do not meet the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming.”
Working on reinstatement
The AGCO indicated operators can work toward proving the UFC adheres to the Registrar’s standards. Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis, which pulled MMA events Friday, shared similar sentiments with LSR.
The promoter said it will work toward meeting all regulatory standards.
“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,” according to its statement.