UFC, the biggest name in mixed martial arts (MMA) is looking to clean up its image in the sports betting world by hiring on US Integrity as its official integrity service. The move comes in the wake alleged “unusual activity” surrounding wagering on several recent UFC events.
“U.S. Integrity will help us strengthen our existing best practices by applying their expertise in data intelligence to proactively identify irregular bout-level wagering patterns. This information can inform UFC’s response and can be preemptively shared with sports books, who can make informed decisions as to whether or not halt betting on a particular bout,” Riché T. McKnight, Executive Vice President & General Counsel of UFC said in a recent press release.
The deal with US Integrity covers all UFC events, including Dana White’s Contender Series, and is a move that should have happened long ago. Until recently, UFC stood alone among North American sporting leagues and authorities in its insistence that it didn’t really need this type of monitoring.
UFC also stands alone as the only sporting entity to have wagering halted on its events in Ontario, due to suspicious activity. Though no charges were filed in Ontario, UFC’s integrity definitely took a hit of its own as allegations of insider information and betting swirled around its events. That ban was lifted at the same time as the partnership with US Integrity was established.
That UFC has waited this long to establish the sort of betting monitoring that every other sporting body has embraced voluntarily remains something of a head-scratcher. With deep roots in Las Vegas, UFC corporate types like Dana White should definitely have known better.