Dana White has insisted that he has ‘zero’ concerns about the integrity of UFC, despite an investigation into allegations of suspicious betting patterns that led the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) to ban betting on the sport in Ontario.
Following the bout between Darrick Minner and Shayilan Nuerdanbiek, concerns over betting patterns were raised, with Minner picking up a knee injury in the hours before the fight reportedly leaking in betting circles.
In light of this, the AGCO ordered all operators in the province to stop accepting and offering bets on the UFC in the wake of the investigation.
Citing standards that prohibit betting on sports that have sufficient integrity safeguards to minimize the risk of match-fixing or cheating, AGCO told operators that they must cease their Ontario UFC offerings with immediate effect.
However, speaking at a press conference after the weekend’s UFC 282, White told a reporter: “I’m not worried about it at all. People ask me ‘What is the UFC going to do?’ We’re letting these guys know not to bet on fights.”
“Do you know what the outcome of this is? If I penalize them, they get cut. But they’re going to go to federal f***ing prison. Federal f***ing prison.
“If you’re that stupid, and somebody else wants to do it, knock yourself out. There’s not enough money in it, to ruin your life, and not go to jail. Go to federal prison.”
Concerns were raised last month over the bout between Minner and Nuerdanbiek, with the UFC confirming that Don Best Sports, its integrity partner, was looking into the matter.
Suspicious betting patterns on the fight were identified, leading many sportsbooks to raise concerns with US Integrity.
Subsequently, several lines of inquiry were opened into the fight, which Nuerdanbiek won in a one-minute TKO stoppage.
It is reported that betting insiders caught wind of a knee injury sustained by Minner in the hours leading up to the fight, which caused significant wagering activity in Nuerdanbiek’s favor.
Asked for an update on the progress of the investigation, White noted: “How would I know? Do you think the people investigating call me and keep me in the loop on this?
“Why would they tell me? There’s an investigation going on into a fight that’s been (allegedly) fixed. I know as much as you know.”
The controversy and integrity investigations came just weeks after the UFC placed a ban on its fighters from betting on any fight in the competition, not just those they partake in.
Updating its Athlete Conduct Policy, the body noted that fighters are prohibited from betting on any UFC fight, regardless if they are involved or not, as the organization sought to bolster its betting integrity mechanisms.