UFC strengthens internal oversight with US Integrity agreement

UFC is improving its integrity stance with gambling regulators after agreeing to make US Integrity its official integrity service provider.
Image: Andre Luiz Moreira/Shutterstock

UFC is improving its integrity stance with gambling regulators after agreeing to make US Integrity its official integrity service provider.

Under the terms of the comprehensive agreement, US Integrity will provide UFC with betting monitoring services to identify and analyze unusual wagering activity, and spot potential integrity concerns, utilizing their expertise in data intelligence and fraud prevention.

Effective immediately, the partnership will cover all of UFC’s upcoming events in 2023, including Dana White’s Contender Series.

UFC’s deal with the bet monitoring company will strengthen its integrity control following a wave of integrity concerns for the MMA organization, where several of its fighters and coaches are being investigated for betting involvement.

Last October, UFC ushered in a new policy prohibiting fighters, their teams, and close associates, from wagering on UFC events to fall in line with US sports betting regulators.

Since this new policy was issued, MMA coach James Krause, as well as fighters Darrick Minner and Jeff Molina, have all been suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. As a result, UFC is refusing to book any more events for those being investigated until those probes have been concluded.

Wagering on UFC events has been banned by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and the Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Commission (now both overturned), while the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has told its licensed sportsbooks to not accept bets on any fights involving Krause.

“Throughout this process, we have had productive discussions with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) to address the concerns AGCO expressed to their operators,” commented Riché T McKnight, Executive Vice President & General Counsel of UFC. 

“We have made enhancements to our UFC Athlete 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. 

“Finally, we have reiterated our expectation that our contract athletes will come to us to report any matters that might raise integrity concerns.  We thank the AGCO for their cooperation, and we look forward to continuing to work with them to ensure the integrity of our sport for the benefit of our athletes and our fans.”

McKnight continued: “There is no greater responsibility we have to our athletes, fans, and business partners than to ensure the integrity of our sport.

“US Integrity will help us strengthen our existing best practices by applying their expertise in data intelligence to proactively identify irregular bout-level wagering patterns. This information can inform UFC’s response and can be preemptively shared with sports books, who can make informed decisions as to whether or not halt betting on a particular bout.”

UFC’s agreement with US Integrity comes just one month after the organization’s President Dana White claimed he had “zero” concerns regarding the promotion’s integrity.

Matthew Holt, CEO and Co-Founder of US Integrity, added: “US Integrity is proud to partner with UFC and assist as wagering on their events continues to rapidly grow across the regulated sports betting market.

“US Integrity’s mission is to provide best-in-class insights and compliance solutions to our clients. We are looking forward to working with the exceptional team at UFC as they work to improve their integrity policies and procedures.”