Heavyweight fan favorite slugger Mark Hunt recently said he was ‘going all the way’ in his potential lawsuit against the UFC, and apparently he wasn’t kidding.
News arrived from ESPN.com tonight (Tues., January 10, 2017) that ‘The Super Samoan’ has filed a civil suit in Nevada District Court after his opponent at July 2016’s UFC 200, former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar, had failed in and out-of-competition drug tests for a banned performance-enhancing substance. The suit was filed against the UFC, President Dana White, and Lesnar, alleges the promotion “affirmatively circumvented and obstructed fair competition for their own benefit.”
Billed as the “biggest, baddest event of all time” by White, UFC 200 found itself lacking a big name to headline when Conor McGregor skipped a press conference and was pulled from his rematch with Nate Diaz in a show of power. Lesnar was announced as his pseudo-replacement at June’s UFC 199, and was then given a somewhat questionable exemption from the normal four-month USADA testing window for returning fighters.
Hunt believes the UFC knew his behemoth opponent was on something but allowed him to fight anyway, leading to accusations of racketeering and fraud according to the ESPN report. Hunt is seeking financial compensation for the physical and occupational harm he received as a result of his lopsided beating at the hands of a ripped and hulking Lesnar in the UFC 200 co-headliner.
Lesnar’s failures, including a pre-fight failure of a June 28 test for the July 9 card almost two weeks later, for banned estrogen blocker clomiphene were made public shortly after the card, and Hunt thinks the UFC could have expedited the test results to find out the truth before Lesnar took him down and repeatedly bludgeoned him in the Octagon.
The prolific knockout artist discussed the suit to ESPN, noting that the UFC had the chance to rectify the situation but did not:
“I want the UFC to understand it’s not OK to keep doing what they’re doing,” Hunt told ESPN.com. “They’re allowing guys to do this. They had a chance to take all the money from this guy, because he’s a cheater, and they didn’t.
“What message is that sending to the boys and girls who want to be a fighter someday? The message is, ‘You just have to cheat like this and it’s OK.’ In society, if you commit a crime, you pay. Why is it different in MMA? It’s hurt the business, so it’s even worse. They need to be held accountable for this.”
‘The Super Samoan’ has a bout with fellow convicted PED user Alistair Overeem at March’s UFC 209 from Las Vegas, a fight for which he asked for a ‘steroid clause’ and one Hunt doesn’t seem to want after saying he ‘has to feed his family.’
Meanwhile, Lesnar was given a one-year suspension by the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) and USADA and was fined $250,000 of his lofty $2.5 million purse. Hunt and his lead attorney are focusing on an article in the UFC’s anti-doping program which “authorizes the promotion to pull an athlete’s title, ranking, [and] purse or other compensation” in a fighter is found to be in violation.
Hunt is seeking damages “in the millions.” His lead attorney Christina Demming said they would have taken Lesnar’s purse (minus his fine), but the UFC failed to do what is right:
“Once we found out the penalty was only 10 percent of his purse, we went back to the UFC and offered to accept [Lesnar’s] purse amount, less than the $250,000 penalty,” Denning said. “We also wanted them to accept the clause moving forward.
“Mark says the penalties aren’t harsh enough. What’s interesting is that the penalties are harsh enough on paper, they’re just not being enforced by the UFC.”
As a bout with his fourth known PED user on the horizon, Hunt elaborated that he didn’t want to get to this point with his employers, but he tried to get out of his current contract and couldn’t:
“I didn’t want to be in this position, It puts me in a weird spot because I’m still under contract. Fans say, ‘Mark, you knew he was juicing.’ I didn’t know. You look at him and think, ‘Yeah, he’s on the gear,’ but don’t judge a book by its cover and all that.
“This was the last straw. I lost that fight, it ruined it for my fans. It wasn’t good. I asked to get out of my contract but I can’t. I need to work like everyone else.”