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Allegations and suspicions of fight fixing are an unfortunate constant of the combat sports world, and while the vast majority of those instances are completely unfounded, legitimate reports do pop up on this subject from time to time.
One of those times came on Wednesday morning as a number of Korean outlets, including Naver Sports, reported that Korean police were investigating suspicious activity surrounding a fight from the UFC’s 2015 card in Seoul.
According to BloodyElbow.com’s Anton Tabuena, the reports say an unnamed Korean fighter “agreed to take a dive for 100 million Won (roughly $88,000), and also put down a bet of 50 million Won (roughly $44,000) on the opponent.” When the UFC caught wind of a shift in betting odds, however, the fighter reportedly opted to fight normally and wound up taking a decision win.
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The fighter is said to have contacted police after fearing for his safety due to numerous threats and eventually admitted he initially agreed to throw the fight.
While the fighter is unnamed in the reports, Tabuena says multiple outlets are suggesting five-fight veteran Tae-Hyun Bang could be the individual in question. The lightweight competitor is the only male fighter on the card who won a fight by decision, earning a unanimous 29-28 decision win over Leo Kuntz.
Anton Tabuena @antontabuena
Mainstream Korean media didn’t outright name Tae Hyun Bang to protect him, but as noted here, it’s pretty much an open secret that it’s him.
4/19/2017, 1:49:04 PM
The buildup to Bang vs. Kuntz raised eyebrows due to a massive shift in the betting odds immediately before the contest.
As BloodyElbow.com’s Mookie Alexander reported at the time, the odds rocketed in either direction within the span of a few hours, with the bout going from nearly even to Bang being a massive +385 underdog and Kuntz settling as a -475 favorite.
The swing was beyond unusual for a preliminary card bout on a small card and prompted many discussions on match fixing in MMA (including one over at MMA Junkie), but the outcome of the fight largely nixed all talk that anything was amiss.
It is important to note that, while the unnamed fighter allegedly agreed to throw his fight, he ultimately did not. That said, it will be interesting to see what this investigation may turn up.