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“You’ve got to consider every possibility,” explains Westgate Director of Race and Sports' John Murray in a November 11, 2022 SportsHandle.com article titled, “UFC Betting Controversy: Not A Fair Fight Between Gamblers and Sportsbooks?” A pile of dirty laundry which we’ve previously sifted through since at least UFC 277; the suspicious line movement detected later at UFC Vegas 64 has managed to bring the sport of mixed martial arts to its knees as UFC president Dana White has been forced to admit that fight fixing has now become a “huge concern” for the promotion amidst the ongoing James Krause controversy. With all roads leading back to the betting watchdog group U.S. Integrity, join us as we explore the notion that the UFC’s official sports betting partner, DraftKings Sportsbook, is the missing link in a triangle of impropriety that has seen the sports premiere mixed martial arts organization reduced to the lowest common denominator.
Elaborating on the circumstances surrounding the suspicious line movement investigation, according to Murray, “we saw people betting a little bit on the fight, but nothing that was out of the ordinary. We had some customers betting the favorite, and we moved the price up, we wrote some money on the ‘dog.’ I probably wouldn’t have thought anything of it if it hadn’t been for the reports out there.”
With not every sportsbook having experienced irregular activity in the lead up to the UFC Vegas 64 fight between Shayilan Nuerdanbieke and Darrick Minner; exactly how this story managed to manifest itself into the collective mainstream consciousness becomes an increasingly interesting angle to explore.
“U.S. Integrity President Matthew Holt was not at liberty to discuss specifics of the incident because there was still an investigation ongoing,” writes author Eric Raskin in taking a closer look at the situation.
“We identify hundreds of abnormalities a month,” said Holt. “And probably send out five to 10 alerts.”
“There are three ways alerts can come about,” explains Raskin. “One is U.S. Integrity’s system spotting abnormalities. To the untrained eye it’s an overwhelming array of colorful points and lines and bars layered one on top of another. But the system detects outliers and sends them to an analyst, and that analyst investigates and decides whether an alert is warranted.
“A second way alerts can be generated is by external integrity organizations, such as FIFA or the IOC sending U.S. Integrity a report on one of their sporting events.
“A third way is how Saturday’s UFC situation went down,” explains Raskin, “with operators sending the initial reports of suspicious activity and U.S. Integrity anonymizing that information and then sharing it with other operators and regulators.”
With U.S. Integrity at the heart of the now infamous suspicious line movement investigation, the fact the watchdog group recently announced their partnership with the UFC despite multiple ongoing investigations has managed to draw conflict of interest concerns among industry insiders.
The issue further compounded by the fact the UFC reportedly already had a pre-existing betting integrity partner in Don Best Sports and the promotions previous experience with suspicious line movements back in 2015. Yet, we’re to believe that not only did the UFC’s newest betting integrity partner, U.S. Integrity, initially fail to detect the suspicious line movement at UFC Vegas 64, but that both the UFC and their pre-existing betting integrity partner failed to do so as well.
And not only is there reason to believe that there is more to this story than has initially been reported, but that there may in fact be a much more sinister motive behind James Krause and Glory MMA being lined up to take the fall as the full weight of the betting syndicate operation all but escapes scrutiny.
“In episode #134 of The JRE MMA Show with Belal Muhammad, the JRE host cursed at Brandon Moreno‘s former coach, James Krause, for being responsible for the latest UFC policy,” writes author Vulligundam Ruthwik in their January 1, 2023 EssentiallySports.com article titled, “’You guys F***d Us’ – Joe Rogan Rips James Krause as UFC Issues Restrictions Following Massive Scandal.”
“This policy prevents fighters and associates of those fighters from betting on UFC matches,” explains Ruthwik. “The stand-up comedian condemns this policy and encourages athletes to bet on themselves for fights.”
With Rogan theorizing that James Krause is ultimately responsible for the Kraken being released in mixed martial arts, a closer examination of the facts reveals an entirely different story altogether.
“Joe Rogan’s words on commentary may have had a bigger impact than he expected at UFC 277,” explains author Drake Riggs in his August 9, 2022 MMAMania.com article titled, “Texas judge claps back at Joe Rogan: ‘Now I have a reputation of being a bad judge’.
“That guy needs a talking to,” said Rogan of Texas MMA Judge Seth Fuller in the wake of the Don’Tale Mayes vs. Hamdy Abdelwahab scorecards. “We need to check to see what he bet on.”
Described as the shot heard around the world by some in the mixed martial arts media, the possibility exists that questioning the integrity of a licensed official live, on-air may have played a role in the launching of the suspicious line movement investigation later down the road at UFC Vegas 64.
Not only does Rogan seem to have a habit of pointing the finger at everyone else but himself in this mounting controversy, but he also appears to be knee deep in a betting syndicate operation which parallels the James Krause investigation in potentially explosive ways.
“Rogan, who has been a member of the UFC commentary team for ages, revealed during a recent episode of his podcast that he used to bet on fights, even when he was covering the matchups,” writes author Dan Hiergesell in his Oct. 1, 2022 MMAMania.com article titled, “Joe Rogan reveals he use to bet on UFC fights, claims insane 84 percent success rate."
“I use to bet on UFC, even when I was commentating I would bet on it early on,” said Rogan. “I’m like, this is probably not legal. One of my business partners, he would come to the fights and I would give him… he would gamble. So, when I stopped betting I would just say bet ... and we were at like an 84% success rate.”
Once contextualized alongside Rogan’s previous comments at UFC 277, where he questioned the betting practices of Texas MMA Judge Seth Fuller on-air and more questions than answers begin to emerge as the possibility cannot be discounted that the judge’s scorecard came into direct conflict with the UFC commentary crews own betting practices.
Interestingly, information recently surfaced which brings us back full-circle to the Lone Star State where we originally started. “Gilbert Burns is fed up,” writes author Jesse Holland in his March 28, 2023 MMAMania.com article titled, “UFC fighter calls on FBI to investigate ‘dirty’ MMA judge ‘who may be working for the betting company’.”
Placing the Cory Sandhagen vs. Marlon Vera decision under the proverbial microscope, according to the report, “the No. 5-ranked welterweight contender wants the FBI to get involved in MMA judging after the wacky scorecards turned in following the UFC San Antonio main event last weekend in Texas.”
With multiple investigations reportedly underway, conflict of interest concerns have arisen as the UFC has partnered with U.S. Integrity despite the watchdog group having initially played a pivotal role in the launching of the suspicious line investigation from the start. Incredibly, both the UFC and their previous betting integrity partner, Don Best Sports, failed to sound the alarm despite the promotion having previously demonstrated an ability to do so while U.S. Integrity points to unspecified operators as ultimately responsible for filing initial reports. As other sportsbooks come forward with tales of innocuous activity in the lead up to UFC Vegas 64, exactly how the information was anonymized that led to the James Krause investigation becomes a matter of public interest as it increasingly appears that DraftKings Sportsbook is the missing link in a triangle of impropriety that has seen the sports premier fight organization reduced to the lowest common denominator. A borderline cover up in mixed martial arts, UFC commentator Joe Rogan’s own betting syndicate operation paralleling elements of the James Krause controversy speaks to the absolute necessity in considering every possibility here.