PFL CEO Peter Murray denies the tournament-based promotion “technically” did anything wrong when its broadcast partner Fubo TV advertised an April 1 Challenger Series event as live, triggering betting action on sports books, when in fact it was pre-taped on March 25.
But Murray admitted the messaging led to “confusion among fans” and “confusion among the sports book community,” and said the promotion is working with its broadcast partner to ensure it never happens again.
“We’re accountable as [a] world-class, in our view, organization … and as a media entity, we pride ourselves on communications, and so, we’ve addressed that internally to ensure that will never happen again,” Murray said Wednesday on The MMA Hour.
On the official Twitter account of Fubo TV, the April 1 event was advertised as “LIVE,” while the promotion’s website showed it was prerecorded, according to ESPN.com., which first reported the news.
“It was our only pre-recorded event ever; we have an impeccable record over four years of executing live events with multiple sports books taking bets in the U.S. and internationally, and we don’t plan on having any pre-recorded events going forward,” said Murray, who did not explain why the event was pre-recorded. “So, a learning moment, and it will be a blip, but we take it very, very seriously in our best practices.”
Multiple states including Arizona and Colorado have removed PFL events from their wagering catalogue after U.S. Integrity, a Las Vegas-based betting watchdog, alerted sports books of potentially “nefarious behavior” when betting lines for the April 1-televised event swung significantly toward the eventual winners, according to ESPN.com. U.S. Integrity confirmed with the PFL that the event was pre-taped on March 25.
Susie Carr, a spokesperson for the Colorado Gaming Commission, told MMA Fighting the PFL is “suspended until further notice on any further betting” until investigators can determine what happened. At issue is whether any bettors could have benefitted from betting on fights that had already been decided. In one instance, PFL heavyweight Rakim Talley improved to a -2500 from -290 before his bout against Santino Zurita. He won the fight via unanimous decision.
Several bettors told ESPN.com they believed the fights were live and some did not receive their winnings.
According to ESPN.com, PFL spokesperson Loren Mack wrote in an email that any sports books that took betting action on the fights did so without permission or consent from the PFL. He added the promotion “entered confidentiality agreements with everyone involved.”
Murray said sports books will have access to the PFL’s 2022 season kickoff event on April 20 at Esports Arena in Arlington, Texas, which airs on ESPN and ESPN+.