According to reports, another agency has been added to those looking into the betting irregularities surrounding the November 5 UFC fight between Shayilan Nuerdanbieke vs. Darrick Minner. The UFC, Nevada State Athletic Commission, and U.S. Integrity had previously launched investigations into that fight—along with investigations into MMA coach & gambling tout James Krause. On Friday, ESPN said that the FBI is now “collecting information and has spoken to people” about the bout as well, which took place on the UFC Vegas 64 main card.
The FBI told Bloody Elbow, “As a matter of longstanding policy, we do not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.”
Alongside the investigations into Krause and Minner, ESPN has also reported that UFC flyweight Jeff Molina, who has worked with Krause as a member of the Glory MMA team, has been suspended by the NSAC. That suspension is currently listed as “uncategorized” pending the next NSAC meeting.
Molina, who is the No. 13 ranked fighter in the official UFC flyweight rankings, was scheduled to compete at UFC Vegas 67 on January 14. However, he withdrew from that event in early December. Molina’s withdrawal came not long after the NSAC suspended Krause and the UFC notified fighters who chose to remain with Krause that they “will not be permitted to participate in UFC events pending the outcome of the aforementioned government investigations.”
According to the ESPN story, Molina has been “linked to the investigation” around the Nuerdanbieke vs. Minner fight.
The Nuerdanbieke vs. Minner contest is under investigation because of suspicious betting before the fight and a possible injury-reporting infraction.
U.S. Integrity, an organization that identifies “suspicious behavior by analyzing changes in betting data against a benchmark of normal betting activity,” alerted sportsbooks that in the hours before UFC Vegas 64, the line of the fight had moved from Nuerdanbieke being a -220 favorite to a -420 favorite. The organization also noticed that bets were coming in on Nuerdanbieke to win via first-round knockout, although he had zero KO wins during his three previous UFC outings.
Nuerdanbieke won the fight by knockout 67 seconds into the first round.
During the brief bout, Minner’s actions led many to believe he entered the fight sporting a previously undisclosed injury. The NSAC is investigating that aspect of the contest, while the UFC (via its integrity partner, Don Best Sports), U.S. Integrity and now, reportedly, the FBI are looking into the betting that surrounded the matchup.
*Bloody Elbow reached out to Jeff Molina for comment on his suspension. Bloody Elbow also reached out to the UFC for comment on the report of an investigation into the Shayilan Nuerdanbieke vs. Darrick Minner fight. We did not receive any replies before publication of this story.
**Story has been updated with FBI’s response to question about the reported investigation.