Remember when news surfaced earlier this year that former UFC lightweight Tae Hyun Bang was indicted for bribery and fight fixing dating back to his bout with Leo Kuntz at UFC Fight Night 79?
Well, that story has come full circle, as the Seoul Central District Court in South Korea has handed Bang a 10-month prison sentence for accepting bribes to fix his fight opposite Kuntz back in 2015, per a report by The Korea Herald (h/t MMAjunkie).
“The crime of match fixing damages the credibility of sport, and in international matches, it has a bad effect on the country’s credibility as well,” the court said, according to The Korea Herald. “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 afterwards.”
Bang, 34, was given $92,160 USD by a collection of three brokers and was expected to lose the first two rounds to Kuntz. But after Bang bet half of that money on Kuntz to win, the betting lines drastically switched, forcing UFC officials to warn both Bang and Kuntz of the ramifications of fixing fights.
As a result, Bang had a change of heart when it came time to throw down with Kuntz and ultimately ended up winning the bout via split decision.
“The UFC seemed like they knew something was definitely not right,” Kuntz told MMAjunkie back in April. “They told me it was the largest odd swing they’d seen in MMA and last minute. They told me, ‘Hey, if either one of you guys goes out there and doesn’t fight, you should prepare to be investigated.’”
This obviously isn’t good news for Bang, who will now serve 10 months in South Korean prison after accepting a huge bride and conspiring to fix a UFC fight. Bang had also received death threats from organized crime members after they bet $1.7 million on Kuntz to win.
Fight fixing rarely comes up in mixed martial arts (MMA) these days, especially within a tightly-run organization like UFC, but this should be a lesson to all to keep your hands clean unless you’re punching your opponent in the face.