Widening betting probe prompts UFC to ban coach James Krause's fighters from competing in UFC

HOUSTON, TEXAS - FEBRUARY 08:  James Krause has his hands wrapped backstage during the UFC 247 event at Toyota Center on February 08, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Highly regarded MMA coach James Krause is in the middle of a betting probe, and the UFC has banned his fighters from competing in the organization. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The controversy surrounding a Nov. 5 bout involving Darrick Minner and Shayilan Nuerdanbieke bumped up significantly on Friday when the UFC released Minner and notified all fighters who are either coached by James Krause or train at his Glory MMA gym in Lee's Summit, Missouri, that they will not be permitted to compete in the UFC until the completion of multiple betting investigations.

Nuerdanbieke finished Minner in the first round. The betting lines on the fight took a dramatic shift in Nuerdanbieke's favor when rumors surfaced on the morning of the fight that Minner was fighting with a knee injury.

Minner threw a kick, went down and Nuerdanbieke quickly finished him. Legal betting outlets around the country sounded an alarm as the money poured in on Nuerdanbieke. The word got out about Minner's injury, and he didn't disclose it on a pre-fight form athletes fill out that's given to them by the Nevada Athletic Commission.

The Nevada commission would not allow Krause to work Miles Johns' corner on Nov. 19, suspending his corner license. Johns said he found out at dinner the night before the fight that Krause could not coach him. Krause has been public about his interest in betting and in actually placing wagers on fights.

Krause hasn't been able to corner fighters in Missouri, where he lives, and in New Jersey. And on Thursday, the province of Ontario's Alcohol and Gaming Commission banned betting on UFC fights because of what it said was non-compliance with its "betting integrity requirements."

The UFC released a statement Friday in which it announced that Minner had been cut and that fighters with ties to Krause could not compete.

UFC has since advised Krause and the respective managers working with impacted fighters, that effective immediately, fighters who choose to continue to be coached by Krause or who continue to train in his gym, will not be permitted to participate in UFC events pending the outcome of the aforementioned government investigations.

Minner had lost three in a row and was 2-4 in the UFC, so he likely was hanging on to his job by a thread. UFC officials were unhappy Minner did not disclose the injury beforehand.

But the Krause situation is going to cause significant problems for fighters. Interim flyweight champion Brandon Moreno has been training with Krause, but will have to find a new gym before his fight against champion Deiveson Figueiredo next month at UFC 283 in Brazil.

This comes on the heels of a change to the UFC's code of conduct policy that barred fighters, their coaches, members of their teams and any close associates from betting on UFC fights. They were still free to bet on other MMA fights and have betting sponsorships.

Krause was a longtime fighter for the UFC and compiled a 9-4 record in the promotion. He began coaching while he was still active as a fighter and quickly earned a reputation as one of the sport's sharpest young minds.

But he made no secret of his interest in betting on UFC fights and had a Discord channel in which he gave out picks. He hasn't been specifically accused of cheating, but knowing about injuries and other such things can give a bettor a significant advantage. Clearly, a lot of bettors learned about Minner's injury on the morning of the fight and wound up betting on Nuerdanbieke.