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UFC lightweight receives 10-month jail sentence over fight-fixing incident

Bang Tae-Hyun was found guilty of taking a bribe of 100 million won (€77,000).

Bang Tae-Hyun
Bang Tae-Hyun
Image: UFC

SOUTH KOREAN MIXED martial arts fighter Bang Tae-Hyun on Thursday received a 10-month jail sentence for his involvement in a match-fixing scam.

Bang was found guilty of taking a bribe of 100 million won (€77,000) from match-fixers in exchange for promising to throw an Ultimate Fighting Championship UFC bout against Leo Kuntz in Seoul in November 2015.

The ruling came despite the lightweight fighter apparently changing his mind and going on to beat Kuntz via split decision after UFC officials — who noticed a sudden shift in betting patterns on gambling websites — warned him about match-fixing. Bang had received the money from one of the brokers.

“Match fixing scams undermine public trust in the fairness of sport… This case also damaged the country’s international credibility,” the Seoul Central District Court said in a statement.

Three brokers were also sentenced to between 10 and 36 months in prison and eight others were handed down suspended jail sentences, the statement said. It’s understood to be the first incident of fight fixing to have occurred in the UFC.

Bang, 34, was the pre-match favourite over his American opponent but just hours before the fight, UFC officials caught drastic changes in odds that made him the underdog, Yonhap news agency said.

With a professional record that currently stands at 18-10, Bang went on to fight once more for the UFC, losing a unanimous decision to Nick Hein in Hamburg in September 2016.

He competed five times in total for the organisation since making his debut in January 2014.

– © AFP 2017

Additional reporting by Paul Dollery

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