Ontario orders halt to all UFC betting amid integrity concerns

| By Daniel O'Boyle
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has ordered all operators in the province to stop taking bets on the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) due to integrity concerns.
UFC betting

The Ontario regulator said that operators should stop offering any UFC betting with immediate effect.

Ontario – which launched its regulated betting and igaming market on 4 April of this year – has a number of rules intended to protect sporting integrity.

All events for which betting is permitted “must be effectively supervised by a sport governing body which must, at minimum, prescribe final rules and enforce codes of conduct that include prohibitions on betting by insiders”. 

In addition, there must be “integrity safeguards in place which are sufficient to mitigate the risk of match-fixing, cheat-at-play, and other illicit activity that might influence the outcome of bet upon events”.

The UFC in October amended its rules and regulations to ban its fighters from betting on UFC events.

However, AGCO noted that other insiders – such as coaches, managers, handlers, athletic trainers and medical staff – are still permitted to bet.

AGCO said that in recent weeks, it “learned of publicised alleged incidents, including possible betting by UFC insiders, as well as reports of suspicious betting patterns in other jurisdictions”.

UFC betting integrity concerns

Last month – soon after the UFC amended its rules about fighters betting – ESPN reported that a UFC fight between Darrick Minner and Shayilan Nuerdanbieke was being investigated by an integrity body after operators reported suspicious wagering on the event.

According to the report, a large amount of money was placed on Nuerdanbieke to win the fight in the first round amid rumours that Minner was injured. Minner won by knockout in just over a minute. 

Therefore, the AGCO is now taking this step in the public interest. AGCO has indicated to operators that, once the necessary remedial steps have been taken, they may provide information demonstrating that UFC bets or betting products meet the Registrar’s Standards.