UFC Reporter On AGCO Ban: James Krause Could Be MMA’s Pete Rose

Written By Dave Briggs on December 15, 2022
UFC reporter Erich Richter said the AGCO's ban on UFC betting has shined a spotlight on integrity issues in the MMA league.

Erich Richter knew the UFC has long lacked rules to prevent its insiders from betting on the mixed martial arts league. But he admits to being surprised when the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario instituted an outright Ontario sports betting ban on the UFC.

“It wasn’t even an option saying, ‘We’re recommending [banning betting].’ No, ‘We’re mandating that you cannot have MMA.’ Whoa, that’s how quick it can be,” said Richter, who covers UFC for the New York Post.

The AGCO’s ban, which went into effect on Dec. 1, is still in place. Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis followed suit and, on Dec. 3, also banned betting on the UFC. But betting on the UFC was reinstated in Alberta on Dec. 9. The AGLC said it was satisfied with the UFC’s efforts to improve integrity. The AGCO is not, yet, convinced.

It’s all part of a wild month or so for the UFC, said Richter.

“It’s been super crazy,” he told PlayCanada.

“People are questioning the integrity of the sport right now.”

Not that the scrutiny is undeserved.

UFC only banned insiders from betting in October

Richter said it wasn’t until Oct. 18 of this year that the UFC first announced fighters and their teams were prohibited from wagering on UFC fights.

The UFC was founded in 1993. Sports betting has been legal in Nevada since 1949.

Professional sports leagues banning its own athletes, coaches and officials from betting on that same league is standard operating procedure.

“The UFC should have had better rules from the start. My issue with the whole thing is it just seems that the UFC was unprepared and they are very stubborn in their ways,” Richter said. “No other sport allows you to bet on yourself… It should never have been allowed at all, and the fact that it was allowed up until October is pretty bizarre.

“The UFC just seems like it’s not buttoned up. They’re not ready to be a mainstream sport.”

Questionable fight sounded the Ontario sports betting alarm

The issue was brought to a head by a questionable fight and an even more questionable coach.

On Nov. 5, Darrick Minner took on Shayilan Nuerdanbieke in a featherweight match during the UFC Vegas 64 card. Minner, who Richter wrote was, “clearly dealing with a preexisting knee injury, lost quickly in the first round. There were plenty of wagers coming in on Nuerdanbieke, including to win by first-round TKO — a method of victory he hadn’t completed successfully since January 2020 (nine fights) and never in the UFC.”

Minner did not disclose his injuries before the fight.

“His odds went from -220 to -420 in three hours. I talked to a couple of bookmakers and they said money continued to come in on that guy, even with the change. There was no buy back at all. Usually, there’d be a buyback,” Richter said.

James Krause could be the UFC’s Pete Rose

Richter told PlayCanada Minner’s coach, James Krause, has become the most controversial figure in the investigation. The retired MMA fighter operated a Discord channel called “The 1% Club” where he routinely gave out UFC betting tips. Richter said Krause, who also had a podcast and YouTube channel, openly admitted to betting on fights.

While, technically, not against UFC’s rules at the time, Richter called Krause “shameless” in promoting his betting acumen when it came to the UFC.

“Krause took down the Discord channel,” Richter said. “But now everyone’s saying that this investigation is getting pretty deep and that the FBI is involved. And he could be Pete Rose of the UFC.”

Former baseball star Pete Rose holds the major league records for hits (4,256), among other records. In 1989, Rose agreed to a lifetime ban from Major League Baseball after an investigation concluded he bet on the Cincinnati Reds to win while managing the team.

“And the punishment has only gotten worse for Krause,” Richter said. “They suspended his license. Anyone who is a fighter of Krause’s is no longer allowed to fight with the UFC. So, if you want to go with Krause, you’re fired. The UFC bantamweight champion, Brandon Moreno, fights in a couple of weeks. He’s not allowed to be in James Krause’s camp.”

Minner is currently banned, as well, while the investigation proceeds.

No word on when — of if — the AGCO will rescind its ban on betting on the UFC.

Photo by Shutterstock
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Dave Briggs

Dave Briggs is a managing editor and writer for Catena Media. His expertise is covering the gambling industry in Canada with emphasis on the casino, sports betting and horse racing sectors. He is currently reporting on the gaming industries in Canada and Michigan.

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