Call it the curious case of Darrick Minner.
U.S. Integrity is investigating suspicious betting activity ahead of Shayilan Nuerdanbieke‘s first-round TKO over Minner in Saturday’s UFC Fight Night match in Las Vegas.
ESPN reported the story and cited a source close to the Minner camp as saying the fighter’s left leg was “absolutely injured going into the fight.”
Las Vegas-based U.S. Integrity monitors betting markets in an effort to track suspicious activity and ensure fairness for regulators and sportsbooks.
U.S. Integrity found that odds on the favored Nuerdanbieke ballooned from -220 to -440 in the hours leading up to the fight. Punters also poured in money on Nuerdanbieke to win by a first-round knockout and for the fight to end in under 2.5 rounds. Some sportsbooks took the fight off their betting boards.
Watch the video: Quick Ending to Nuerdanbieke-Minner Fight
The fight was stopped at 1:07 of the opening round when Nuerdanbieke finished Minner off with a knee to the head. Minner opened the fight with a pair of left kicks to Nuerdanbieke’s body, then “grimaced and reached for his left leg” per the ESPN report.
The report also notes that Minner is coached by James Krause, a retired fighter and “known sports bettor,” who offers betting tips on a podcast and Discord channel.
Investigation Comes After UFC’s Ban on Betting by Fighters
In October, the UFC followed in the path of most professional leagues by banning its competitors from betting on the sport.
“In light of clear direction that we have received from regulators responsible for the regulated sports betting industry in the United States, we are compelled at this time to recognize in the UFC Athlete Conduct Policy certain restrictions relating to wagering by our athletes, members of their teams and certain others,” UFC Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell wrote at the time.
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The UFC issued the following statement today in the wake of ESPN’s story.
“Like many professional sports organizations, UFC works with an independent betting integrity service to monitor wagering activity on our events,” the statement said. “Our betting integrity partner, Don Best Sports, a leading global supplier of real-time betting data for North American sporting events, will conduct a thorough review of the facts and report its findings.
“At this time, we have no reason to believe either of the athletes involved in the bout, or anyone associated with their teams, behaved in an unethical or irresponsible manner.”
What Actually Happened Here?
Some sportsbooks took the fight off the board, but others were either too slow or unwilling to do so after the odds swung heavily in Nuerdanbieke’s favor. The ESPN report says “rumors circulated among bettors” that Minner was injured as the line moved.
Conspiracy theorists might wonder if Minner simply playing through pain (to ensure a paycheck for fighting), or did he have something to gain personally by competing in a compromised state. We’re not suggesting anything nefarious here, but it seems clear bettors obtained information about the likely outcome of the fight.
Nobody will know for sure, of course, until U.S. Integrity finishes its investigation.
And maybe not even then.