Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Tae Hyun Bang didn't actually throw a bout in the Octagon. Nonetheless, even if he changed his mind, he is the focal point in a fight-fixing plot and is now facing criminal charges.
South Korean prosecutors announced Monday that Bang, 34, has been indicted for his role in a match-fixing plan, surrounding his November 2015 lightweight bout at UFC Fight Night 79 in Seoul with Leo Kuntz. The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office alleges that Bang accepted 100 million won -- just over $87,800 USD -- from unnamed parties to intentionally lose his bout with Kuntz. The prosecution further contends that UFC officials discussed the matter with Bang during fight week after noticing a drastic shift in the bout's betting odds, which led to “The Korean Cowboy” having a change of heart. Bang would go on to win the bout via split decision.
Bang opened as a -180 favorite for his bout with Kuntz, but by the day of the fight, had dropped to a nearly +280 underdog after a considerable amount of cash bet on the American swung the line. The implied odds of victory for a -180 favorite are roughly 64.3 percent; the suggested likelihood of a +280 underdog's victory is just 26.3 percent.
Prosecutors also plan to argue that Bang was persuaded into the scheme by another notable South Korean fighter, Pride Fighting Championship veteran Dae Won Kim, who allegedly acted as the middle man. Kim allegedly told acquaintances that he would be able to fix a UFC bout, sought out Bang to execute the plan and had subsequent conversations with the deal's clandestine brokers.
Bang became just the seventh native South Korean to sign with the UFC in late 2013 and posted a 2-3 record in the Octagon; in addition to the Kuntz win, the Korean Top Team fighter scored a massive knockout of Kajan Johnson at UFC 174 in June 2014. After alternating losses and wins throughout his UFC tenure, Bang was released last September after his unanimous decision defeat to Germany's Nick Hein.