Kuntz responds to investigation of opponent’s fight fixing
There are multiple credible reports that Korean police are investigating an attempted fight fix at UFC Fight Night 79 card in Seoul, South Korea. Lightweight Tae Hyun Bang allegedly accepted about $90,000 from criminal gambling interests to lose two rounds vs. Leo Kuntz, who was entirely unknowing of the plot.
The UFC allegedly noticed an unprecedented shift in the betting lines towards Bang losing, and interviewed both fighters. That apparently spooked Bang, who decided to fight for real, and ended up winning a split decision.
Bad news is Bang never told the bad guys, who reportedly lost $2,000,000 on the failed fix, and were upset. In fear of retribution, Bang allegedly went to the police, who are investigation. There has been no public word from Bang, but Kuntz has now confirmed that UFC officials spoke with him before the fight.
“At that time, I had no idea what was going on,” said Kuntz to Guilherme Cruz for MMA Fighting. “I’m not a gambler. I mean, I like to play poker, things like that, but I’m not a sports gambler, so I had no idea this was a major red flag that there was something going on with the fight being fixed.”
“I wasn’t aware at the time that most of the times, when the betting lines change, it’s because a huge bet came in. Even after the UFC came and talked to me… they didn’t even grow on me very much because the bet was put down on me. They were pretty certain I had nothing to do with it.
“To be honest, at the time, they talked to me when I was having my hands wrapped. We’re talking about an hour or two before I’m about to make my walk out. At that point, I’m not really thinking about anything. I’m just thinking ‘Hey, this is good for me just because it’s getting my name out there, even though something controversial. It’s still good for me as well.’ I was thinking.”
“To me, he was not fighting like somebody who was fighting to lose,. From everything that I’ve gathered, what basically happened, from what I understand, is that he got scared by the UFC, when the UFC came to talk to him, and he panicked and decided not to throw that fight. And that’s why he came out to the police now, because he’s fearing for his life, his safety, so he went to the South Korean police. Even though he’s under investigation, too.
“Apparently, he was more afraid of the UFC than these mobsters that he was associated with.”
“I don’t even think he realized he won the fight until it was over. There’s a video footage of him, they announce the score and raise his hands and he’s shocked.”
Kuntz now fights for Korea’s Road FC and will be part of a 16-men lightweight tournament with a $1 million prize that starts in July.