A new year is here and that means it’s time for Combat Press to take a look back at the best of MMA in 2022. In the coming days, Combat Press will announce its award winners in multiple categories, covering everything from the action in the cage to the biggest stories surrounding the sport.
There is a lot that goes on outside the cage in mixed martial arts. From drama in fight camps to fighters causing a public scene, the sport doesn’t lack drama just because the cameras stop rolling. Often, the biggest headlines are only tangentially related to the actual combat part of combat sports. 2022 was no different, and, as sports gambling became widespread across the United States, it stole a good portion of the headlines surrounding MMA.
At the center of the biggest story of 2022 is former UFC fighter and top-tier coach, James Krause. Krause didn’t keep his love of gambling a secret, hosting a betting podcast, as well as having a Discord page dedicated to sports betting. At first, it seemed harmless enough, but that all changed after his pupil, Darrick Minner, injured his knee.
Minner did not disclose his injury prior to his bout with Shayilan Nuerdanbieke in Nov. 2022, and, just seconds into that fight, Minner re-aggravated his knee injury and lost the fight via TKO. Things seemed askew to many watching the fight, and, as it turns out, there was a massive betting line swing in the hours leading up to the fight. That led to an investigation by the Nevada State Athletic Commission and an indefinite suspension for both Minner and Krause.
The story doesn’t stop there. Amidst that investigation, several places across North America, including New Jersey and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Alberta, pulled UFC events from their sports gambling platforms. As more information continued to be revealed, the UFC banned James Krause from cornering any fighters and, then, stated that no fighter who remained affiliated with Krause would be allowed to fight in the promotion. As rumors began to surface about Krause’s involvement in illegal off-shore sports betting services, the scrutiny grew and another one of his pupils, Jeff Molina, was suspended from the UFC due to his alleged illegal activity revolving around sports betting. Krause would ultimately have to sell his gym, Glory MMA & Fitness, as we await the conclusion of the investigation into Krause and his cohorts.
Despite being an ongoing story with more information surely to be revealed in the coming weeks and months, sports gambling and James Krause’s alleged activity, without a doubt, win the Combat Press 2022 MMA Award for Biggest Story of the Year.