Is MMA Fixed or Fake?

Most MMA fights are not fixed or staged unless the fighter was bribed to lose. Match-fixing has serious consequences like jail and fine similar to soccer but cannot be prevented by anyone.

Match Fixing in UFC Seoul 2015 and Twist to story

Kuntz and Bang

There was a report of ex-UFC fighter Tae Hyun Bang who threw a fight for $92,610 (100 million won in South Korea) to throw a fight against Leo Kuntz at UFC Fight Night in Seoul November 2015.  The three people who gave the money to Bang also got jail terms. Bang owned up due to the fear of the thugs who threatened his life for going against their plans.

Kuntz, Bang's opponent also said that UFC noticed something and checked with the fighters before the fight.

“Some higher-ups in the UFC actually came and talked to me while I was getting my hands taped for the fight. They had said that they were talking to both of us because of how drastically the odds had swung, because of these huge bets that have been placed.”

Interest twist of the story is Bang won the match eventually as he changed his mind (maybe a fighter cannot lose mindset?). Nevertheless, the court still sentenced him to 10 months of jail.

"The crime of match-fixing damages the credibility of the sport, and in international matches, it has a bad effect on the country's credibility as well. Bang had an obligation to play the game fairly, but he ignored it and took an important role in the scheme. But we did take into consideration that Bang won the bout and returned the money afterward.”

We also read from former MMA fighters who trained hard just to win. 

Former Fighters Shares His Experience about MMA Fights

A former fighter Cameron Barton shared his experience about MMA fights. 

"Today MMA is all about UFC...  So does the UFC fix fights? Nope.
They're overseen by the state athletic commissions, who are a part of the U.S government, look after other sports and are… really interested in keeping corruption out of their states. If the word got out the UFC had ever fixed a fight they would lose their promoters license that day and the owners would do prison time, it's that serious."

Another fighter Jeremy Pinto shared his broken leg

Jeremy Pinto

"Aside from being punched in the face 85,000 times, I also got my elbow hyperextended via armbar in 2006 as an AMATEUR who was HOPING to make it to the pros someday"


There are no known beforehand arrangements by the MMA organizer in which one fighter will win and another fighter agrees to lose. However, there is some biasedness resulting in unfair fights. Let’s have a look at a few examples:

Choice of Match-up for Local Fighters

You must have observed this in international matches and in matches in venues. Fight card consists of lots of fighters from that country or city. If the fights held in Brazil or in the second-tier US cities, the fights will have someone from that city or nearby cities to compete against someone.

The fight matchmakers might choose a better local fighter to fight against the weaker out-of-area fighter. The purpose of such matches is to allow local fighters to win in their hometown and they often do that. 

Judges Fairness in Local Matchup 

Leo Kuntz and Bang

Now part 2 is about the judges. In most of the fights, judges are local and they will definitely favor the local area fighters. If the fights are fixed, this is where it will happen. Most of the time judges favor the local fighters either intentionally or unintentionally.

Let’s take an example of a fight Mike Easton vs. Chase Beebe at UWC7. 

Easton had the edge of the hometown fighter while he has to compete with the most experienced fighter Beebe. Easton was respected and liked locally because of excelled BJJ. In that fight, Easton has clearly lost the fight but the judges awarded him with a split decision. This decision was so controversial that the crowd booed for minutes. An investigation was conducted by the local sanctioning body. This fight was found to be fixed but both the fighters were clean. 

Gatekeeper Role

This occurs when a younger fighter is coming up and the fighter needs more visibility and experience. That fighter will fight against a gatekeeper who is a competent and solid fighter.

He will have to fight against the one who was in title contention probably 5-7 years ago. These fights can be identified in a number of different ways. Look at their previous fighting records.

The up-and-comer will have a fighting record like 8-0 or 10-1. On the other hand, the gatekeeper record will be like 26-13 or 26-11. You can also look at their ages as well. One fighter will be in the range of 24-27 and the age of another fighter will be 33-37.

The chances are that the gatekeeper will lose the fight but you can’t say it a fixed fight. There are expectations that who will win, but fighters try their best to win the match. 


Are UFC Fights are fixed?

The majority of the UFC fights are not fixed because an athletic commission that is part of the US government monitors these sports because they want to keep corruption out of their states. If UFC has fixed a fight they will lose their promoter license and the owners will be behind the bars and will face prison time. It’s considered a serious crime. Moreover, he said I am not saying that it never happened, but there is a record of fixed fights. World-class promoters such as Rizin and FC have only promoted the real top talent.

One of the promoters is from Singapore and it’s pretty clean, but we can’t say they are particularly transparent. Their fighters perform really well outside their organization, but you can just assume and you never know the reality. On the other hand, Rizin is a different story. These Japanese promoters have a history of fixing fights. They have notoriously fixed fights in FC way back in the 2000s. Fighters like don Frye and Mark Coleman admitted that they participated in fixed fights. When you watch their fights, these look like fixed fights. 

Pride openly encourages their fighters to take steroids they have committed this organized crime and this result in their shut down. Rizin is run by lots of those guys who were part of the pride. Do these fights are fixed? Probably, yes. But they don’t get lots of attention to top talent. 


So, is MMA fixed? I would say a big “No” in the past; there were tons of fights that were fixed. It probably happens today as well. But the ratio of fixed fights is pretty much less than the past. I would never say, it doesn’t happen at all. In sports, there is always a chance of corruption, cheating, and fixed competitions. So, MMA is also a sport and you can’t deny the fact, matches in MMA are fixed. In the past, more matches were fixed, but currently, the policies are strict and the chances of fixing are reduced. 

So like other sports, there are sometimes the chances of fixed matches in MMA as well. MMA is not all about UFC; it is a big sport and has many MMA championships. In the United States, there are IFL, Strike force, and Bellator as well. There are lots of other MMA championships in other countries as well. Some countries have strict monitoring of the fights, but I don’t believe that all the countries have monitoring policy. One thing should be clear that UFC itself is a large professional organization and the majority of the fights are not fixed. 

Sky Hoon. About
Martial Art Fan
He started his love on martial arts by watching MMA and Angela Lee. He then started this blog to learn more about the different martial arts.
Other Posts By Author