UFC flyweight Jeff Molina is suspected of “significant involvement” in a betting scheme currently under investigation by several state agencies, Nevada Deputy Attorney General Joel Becker said Tuesday at a meeting of the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
The NSAC suspended Molina last month, as first reported by Sportzshala, although the commission did not give a reason at the time. That suspension was extended on Tuesday pending completion of the investigation.
Becker said evidence has emerged that Molina is suspected of “substantial involvement” in a “gambling scheme currently being investigated in connection with [MMA coach] James Krause.
Krause, who is Molina’s coach, and Darrick Minner were also suspended by the NSAC.
Minner’s November 5 fight at the UFC against Shayilan Nuerdanbike in Las Vegas was marked by suspicious betting activity. New Jersey and New York bookmakers, as well as offshore bookmakers, reported unusual interest in betting that Minner would lose in the first round and that the fight would go under 2.5 rounds. He lost by TKO just over a minute in the first round.
A month after the fight, gambling control authorities in New Jersey stopped accepting bets on any events related to Krause, and two Canadian jurisdictions temporarily suspended betting on the UFC. Alberta has since lifted the ban. Several sources told Sportzshala that the FBI was gathering information and interviewing people about the fight.
Krause and Minner are currently disqualified only for not listing Minner’s leg injury on their pre-fight medical forms. Becker’s use of the words “game plan” on Tuesday was the first official admission that the Nevada commission had additional reasons for these suspensions.
On December 2, the UFC released Minner and notified fighters who continued to train with Krause or at his Glory MMA & Fitness in Lee’s Summit, Missouri gym that they would be denied entry to the events pending a government investigation.
Molina has described himself on Twitter as an “MMA gambling degenerate” and has frequently posted screenshots of betting receipts online. On December 25, he wrote in a social media post that his Nevada suspension was due to him “betting on the UFC like half the roster does.”
Earlier this month, Minner told Sportzshala that the FBI had not contacted him. Asked if anything inappropriate had happened prior to the November 5 fight, Minner replied, “Absolutely not. Nothing unusual”.
He told Sportzshala that he had a minor knee injury prior to the fight, which he further injured during the fight. A doctor later determined that he had torn ligaments around his knee, Minner said.
Krause and Molina did not respond to Sportzshala’s request for comment.
Krause, a retired fighter once considered one of the most promising MMA coaches in the world, had a betting advice subscription service called 1% Club on the social media platform Discord, as well as a betting podcast. Both were removed after the investigation began. Krause told the MMA Hour podcast in August that he’s been betting on UFC fights “on every card, almost every fight,” including the fighters he trains.
Sportzshala reported on Thursday that Krause, 36, also acted as an agent for offshore sports betting firm ABCBetting.ag. US residents who worked as agents for offshore bookmakers have been charged with crimes such as tax evasion, illegal sports betting and money laundering.
Molina, 25, is one of the most promising fighters in the UFC flyweight division with 10 straight victories, including his first three in the UFC. Sportzshala ranked Molina #9 on their 2021 list of the top 25 fighters under 25.