UFC president Dana White said during an interview with ESPN's Brett Okamoto on Thursday that fight fixing has become a pressing issue amid an investigation into betting activity related to a November fight.
"Huge concern," White said, per ESPN's Marc Raimondi. "... Now that there's an investigation and it could be possible that it happened, yeah."
"In every sport, somebody thinks they're smarter than everybody else when really they're the dumbest guy in the room. And you will get caught -- you will get caught and you will go to prison. It is what it is. If you're that dumb and you're willing to take that risk for money. Ruin your life for money. We can tell people until we're blue in the face. Same thing as steroids, performance-enhancing drugs. 'Don't do it, USADA is testing, you're gonna get caught.' But this is a whole other level. ... If you're that stupid, have fun in prison."
A Nov. 5 bout between Darrick Minner and Shayilan Nuerdanbieke at UFC Fight Night 214 is under investigation after a number of sportsbooks reported receiving "unusual betting interest" on Nuerdanbieke to win via first-round knockout, in addition to the fight lasting fewer than 2.5 rounds, just hours before the match.
Nuerdanbieke, the favorite, defeated Minner via first-round TKO in 1:07.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission has since suspended Minner and his coach, James Krause, pending the results of multiple investigations. In addition, UFC released Minner and announced any fighter who continues to train under Krause would not be allowed to participate in UFC events while the investigations are ongoing.
Krause has been known for betting on MMA fights, even ones he's coaching. During an interview on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani in August, he said that he bets on fights for himself and others.
"I bet every single card just about every fight," Krause said, via Karim Zidan of The Guardian. "I have a Discord [server], like 2,000 members in it, we crush it. Last week, we destroyed it. I take over people's accounts and play for them, I do pretty well. I make more money gambling on MMA than I do anything else."
UFC has since updated its Code of Conduct, prohibiting contracted fighters, coaches and family members of fighters from betting on bouts. Additionally, multiple commissions have paused betting on UFC fights altogether with investigations ongoing.