For years, fighters, coaches, and employees of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) have won massive amounts of cash wagering on UFC fighters. Ex-UFC fighters like James Krause have even created a Discord account where fans can share betting advice and guidance on upcoming games.
As of October 18th, however, the UFC has updated its Code of Conduct, banning fighters, coaches, team members, and even family members from wagering on any UFC fight. The announcement was delivered through email from Hunter Campbell, the Chief Business Officer for the UFC.
“In light of clear direction that we have received from regulators responsible for the regulated sports betting industry in the United States, we are compelled at this time to recognize in the UFC Athlete Conduct Policy certain restrictions relating to wagering by our athletes, members of their teams and certain others,” the email went on to detail how the “UFC has incorporated a wagering prohibition into the UFC Athlete Conduct Policy expressly prohibiting athletes from wagering on any UFC match.”
Much of the reasoning behind the policy change has to do with the fact that UFC fighters and team members have access to “non-public information” that could give them an advantage at the sportsbooks.
According to a tweet released by @arielhelwani, the Athlete Conduct Policy now states, “Athletes are prohibited from placing any wagers (directly or through a third party) on any UFC match, including placing any wagers on themselves … Athletes should also be aware that in most states, these same prohibitions apply to some or all of relatives living in the same household as an athlete, an athlete’s coaches, managers, handlers, athletic trainers, medical professionals and staff, and any other person with access to non-public information regarding participants in any MMA match.”
Dana White’s Opinion
The UFC’s president, Dana White, remained quiet until he shared his thoughts during the UFC 280 post-fight press conference. White expressed, “Yeah, well, gambling is opening up everywhere in every state, and the people who regulate gambling don’t think it’s a good idea for fighters to be betting on themselves. And I agree.”
According to the email from Campbell, fighters are still allowed to accept sponsorships and partnerships with sports betting companies. The email from Campbell details how “UFC athletes may continue to pursue such sponsorships in accordance with applicable law.”
Retired MMA fighter, UFC coach, and podcast creator James Krause would be affected by the new policy but it’s unclear whether Krause would have to cease his podcast and Discord operations altogether. Krause currently has a Discord with about 2,400 members. It’s believed that Krause would be required to forfeit his coaching career to continue his Discord channel, where he provides wagering advice outside of his podcast. The popular Discord channel currently charges $50 per month or $240 per year to access Krause’s insider picks.
Other famous fighters have wagered on fights in the past with some controversy. Conor McGregor famously tried to bet $3 million on himself before his fight in 2015.
Justin Jaynes was another fighter who mistakenly bet his entire fight purse on himself and ended up losing during UFC Vegas 30.
Another famous wager was when Holly Holm’s management earned a six-figure payout for wagering on her fight against Ronda Rousey.
All of these types of wagers are now illegal and would break the UFC’s Athlete Conduct Policy.
A look at other sports regulations
Some sports fans see the new regulations as just another way for the UFC to prevent fighters from making money, while others appreciate the clarity and integrity the new policy will provide.
The big four professional sports in the US – NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL all prohibit competitors from wagering on any sporting event in their leagues.
It was only a matter of time before the UFC released an official policy on the matter. Honestly, it’s surprising how long they allowed players to wager on fights.
Mac Daniel is a Michigan native and freelance writer for PlayOnlineCasino and PlayOnlineSportsBetting. He has experience writing about a wide variety of topics, including healthcare, tourism, non-profit organizations, and most recently casino and sportsbetting news. To check out more of his work, visit: playonlinemichigan.com