Earlier today, we learned of a nefarious fight-fixing scandal that occurred when the UFC touched down in Seoul, South Korea in late 2015. This scandal surrounded a lightweight bout between South Korea’s Tae Hyun Bang, and American Leo Kuntz.
In advance of the fight, the betting odds made a drastic, unprecedented shift in Kuntz’s favor, which immediately reeked of a fix on the Bang-end of things. When Bang won the fight with a hard-fought split decision, however, there seemed to be far less reason to believe that any malpractice had actually occurred.
As it turns out, any pre-fight skepticism surrounding this fight was justified. Here’s a rundown on the details from our earlier report:
In the buildup to the fight, Bang got involved with some gangsters, who convinced him to throw the fight. These gangsters, who the South Korean police are calling “gambling brokers”, then bet a massive 2 billion Won (almost $2 million USD) on Kuntz. Bang, meanwhile, was paid 100 million Won to take the fall. He then bet half of this sum (roughly $44,000 USD) on Kuntz. All in all, it is estimated that the shadowy parties involved in this underhanded betting scandal wagered close to $2 million USD on Kuntz. This massive betting on Kuntz is what swung the odds so significantly in his favor.
Unsurprisingly, this shady, last-minute odds-shift caught the attention of the UFC, who quickly began questioning Bang. Realizing that he was essentially screwed either way, Bang then decided to fight to win, rather than throw the fight. The result of this change of heart was his split decision defeat of Kuntz.
In the fallout of this ugly ordeal, Bang has reportedly received multiple death threats from the shadowy villains who pushed him into taking a fall, who are unsurprisingly not pleased that he didn’t hold up his end of the deal. As a result, he has come clean to South Korean police, and is now embroiled in an investigation surrounding the incident.
Unfortunately, this is not where the madness ends.
Speaking to a source close to the situation, BJPenn.com’s Chris Taylor has learned that one other UFC fighter was approached by the same mysterious gambling brokers that approached Bang. This fighter was also encouraged to throw their fight. The identity of this fighter is not yet known. It is also not known if they accepted the bribe. Bang, however, is not the only fighter involved in this scandal.
Furthermore, the weighty tone of this whole ordeal has driven the South Korean police to take drastic action. Bang and the other currently unknown fighter have been barred from leaving the country. So too has one former fighter, who is believed to have orchestrated the meeting between these UFC fighters and the shadowy gambling brokers behind the ordeal. Finally, one additional person has been barred from leaving South Korea, as they are believed to be one of the brokers themselves. That’s a total of four people that are currently not allowed to leave the country as a result of this fight-fixing scandal.
Stay tuned to BJPenn.com for more details as they emerge.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/19/2017.