April 23, 2024 2 min read


Ex-Athlete Gets 2 Years in Prison for Running Illegal Betting

Frontier claimed that he quit his involvement in illegal gambling in 2016 before he knew he was being investigated

Michael Frontier, a former MMA fighter who became an illegal bookmaker, has been sentenced to two years in prison despite his claims that he is now a changed man, The Chicago Tribune reported. According to the lawsuit, the former athlete’s unlicensed gambling operation also had links with local Mafia groups.

The 39-year-old, whose LinkedIn page described him as a “clairvoyant, intuitive life coach, reiki master, reflexologist, and keynote speaker,” pleaded guilty to running an illegal gambling operation in January. The Chicago man admitted to serving as an illegal bookmaker from 2015 and 2016.

For context, Frontier’s case was related to the Chicago Outfit’s Elmwood Park and Grand Avenue street crews. According to the lawsuit, his gambling operations targeted big players in the Outfits gambling circles.

FBI wiretaps show the former athlete discussing his operations and threatening gamblers with violence when they did not pay up. A testimony by a gambler who couldn’t pay at the time says that Frontier redirected him to a money lender. However, when the player met with the moneylender, he was beaten by several other men.

To make matters worse, Frontier filed a bankruptcy in 2015 in spite of the fact that, according to the lawsuit, he was making big money through his illegal gambling operations. His bankruptcy filing sought to help him avoid paying a $1.5 million civil judgment after a motorcycle accident.  

Frontier Says He Has Changed

During the sentencing on Friday, Frontier apologized to US District Judge John Robert Blakey. The former athlete promised that he was now a changed man and that his participation in illegal operations was now behind him.

Frontier claimed that he quit his involvement in illegal gambling in 2016 before he knew he was being investigated. He added that he hopes to get a second chance because he is a “whole different person” now.

The athlete-turned-bookmaker’s lawyer added that the man is now working an honest job and is expecting his first child.

Frontier’s case is part of a larger investigation into the Chicago Outfits. Despite his ties to the Mafia, the former MMA fighter avoided being accused of being a Mafia member himself.


Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at GamblingNews.com is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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