Mark Hunt Files Lawsuit Against Brock Lesnar, Dana White and UFC

January 11, 2017

Mark Hunt has filed a civil lawsuit against the UFC, company president Dana White, and WWE Superstar Brock Lesnar.

The suit, as first reported by ESPN.com, was filed on Tuesday in Nevada District Court, alleging the “UFC and its agents have affirmatively circumvented and obstructed fair competition for their own benefit, including being complicit in doping proliferation under the guise of advancing ‘the best anti-doping program in all of professional sports.’ Defendants have accomplished this by means including but not limited to various and rampant purported use exemptions, drug testing exemptions and by failure to enforce its own policies.”

Hunt is accusing the defendants of, among other charges, racketeering, fraud, breech of contract, and unjust enrichment. He is seeking financial relief for damages, legal fees, and the like, but the racketeering charge could trigger treble damages.

The lawsuit stems primarily from Hunt’s UFC 200 bout with Lesnar on July 9, 2016. Lesnar initially won the bout via a unanimous decision, but was found to have tested positive for clomiphene, an anti-estrogen substance in a June 28 out-of-competition drug test and again on fight night. Clomiphene, as laid out in the suit, is known as a post cycle therapy substance “believed to be used after a period of strength training with anabolic steroids or similar prohibited substances.”

Brock Lesnar - Mark Hunt - Dana WhiteLesnar eventually entered into an adjudication agreement with the Nevada Athletic Commission, agreeing to pay a $250,000 fine and accepting a one-year suspension. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which administers the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, also assessed him a one-year suspension, making him eligible for a possible return on July 15, 2017.

While $250,000 sounds substantial, Hunt points out that Lesnar was paid a disclosed purse of $2.5 million for the fight, and was believed to have also been paid a percentage of pay-per-view buys. That makes the $250,000 figure appear much more negligible. Hunt was paid a disclosed purse of $700,000, and received no benefit from Lesnar’s penalties, other than the outcome of the bout being changed to a no contest. 

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The crux of Hunt’s argument centers on the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which requires retired or inactive fighters from entering the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency testing pool at least four months prior to an athlete’s first scheduled competition upon returning to the Octagon. 

Lesnar did not do so, even though there are public statements pointing to the idea that Lesnar and the UFC had been discussing his potential return as early as four months prior to UFC 200. In fact, Lesnar was granted a waiver to forego the four-month testing period per the UFC citing exceptional circumstances.

Hunt believes that the UFC and White played the exceptional-circumstances card simply because UFC 200 was big business and Lesnar’s participation would help them cement a $4.2 billion sale to WME-IMG, which was confirmed two days after UFC 200. 

Alistair Overeem vs Mark Hunt“I want the UFC to understand it’s not okay 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 okay.’ 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.”

What Hunt has been asking for is a contractual clause that forces a fighter found to be doping to forfeit his or her fight purse to his or her opponent. Thus far, his pleas have fallen into silence.

 It’s no surprise that Hunt would be upset, not only because of the Lesnar case and the large amount of money involved, but also because each of his three most recent opponents and his currently scheduled opponent have all been found guilty of anti-doping violations. 

Aside from Lesnar, Hunt previously fought Frank Mir and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, who were penalized for their anti-doping violations without any compensation to him.

Hunt is currently slated to face Alistair Overeem at UFC 209 on March 4 in Las Vegas. Overeem was pulled from a UFC heavyweight title fight in 2012 when an out-of-competition drug test revealed a 14-to-1 testosterone-to-epistestosterone ratio, which was more than twice the allowable limit at the time. The Dutch fighter served a de facto suspension of 9 months.

“I didn’t want to be in this position,” Hunt said. “It puts me in a weird spot because I’m still under contract.”

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So why would he agree to fight Overeem when he knew he would be filing suit against the UFC?

Hunt said that he turned down two fights in the months following the Lesnar bout, trying in vain to “make the UFC 200 situation right” and trying to get a clause in his contract that would protect him if future opponents were found to be doping. He accepted the Overeem bout because he was informed that he may be in breech of his contract if he continued to turn down bouts.

So now, Hunt is in the awkward position of fighting for the UFC while simultaneously filing suit against the promotion, but feeling that he has no other options.

“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.”

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  • Tim

    Nice work Mark Hunt. Dana and his team feel like the little guy has no chance, and you sir have told him that no, the little guy will not sit back and continue to take it. Dana is complicit……….

  • Neil Wood

    I really like mark Hunt as a fighter and the kind of nice person he seems to be. This may probably be the ned of his fight career but I think he is making a very valid point. If a person is overweight he is fined a portion of his purse or the fight is cancelled. But when a person tests positive for banned substances the only penalty is given by the commission.

    A person that tests positive should foregone a large part of their purse split between the fighter they faced and probably one of the drug testing agencies or even the UFC. This will show the UFC is serious about drug testing.

    That being said if Hunt ever tests positive he must face the harshest penalty as he has been so outspoken against it.

  • Usmc8408

    One major point Hunt is either missing or ignoring is that Lesnar retired BEFORE the 4 month sit out rule was inacted. It’s a simple case of ex post facto, which I’m sure he’ll learn very soon. I’m sure the UFC took full advantage of that “loophole” but it doesn’t mean Lesnar got special treatment. GSP was afforded the same exemption but he volunteered to sit out.

    • Funkydr79

      I’m not understanding your point. He still came back to the UFC with the rule enacted so he should be subject to it. I would understand the idea of him being grandfathered in if the rule was enacted a week after it was announced he was scheduled to fight in the shorter than four month span. It sounds like he went through the agreed upon channels for the exception, and it was granted by the anti-doping agency, so Hunt doesn’t really have a leg there. I just don’t think the “grandfathered in” argument holds water.

  • President Fentanyl

    mma is fast becoming like the pro bodybuilding. drugs destroyed both sports.

    • Rich Dalton

      Ummmmmm,WHAT???? Sorry that s a really bad comparison for many reasons.

    • bodybuildingismeantfordrugs

      That’s the all time worst comparison I’ve ever heard between anything.

  • McGraw

    Let’s see how long this lasts …

  • Hunter Williams

    Mark Hunt…..Obese….no stamina…..does not train properly……relies on one skill……gets his ass whipped by someone who watches weight….has stamina…..trains properly and then cries…..If Hunt and Nelson would have listened to dana years ago and dropped excess weight, trained properly they would not be crying, they would both have held the belt at some point…..

  • Yannick Messaoud

    Mark Hunt 40y old why not try at the end of your career to get the most $$$ you can before retiring. With this law suit he burned a bridge of course bellator would sign him for sure, but even then they pay there fighters peanuts.

    Lets see where that leads but its nothing good for Mark you never bit the hand that feeds you

  • ernesto chavez

    Mr. Hunt, keep up the good fight against the powerful UFC and the Girly-man Mr. White. Your trail blazing will help all MMA fighters. Nothing changes for the better without someone standing up for justice. Much success with your law suit.

    You pose a great idea that PEDS cheaters should have their pay turned over to their opponent, win or lose. You are in a struggle with a very powerful organization having strong political ties with the NSAC and now with the white house. But, take comfort that Einstein said something to the effect that, “great spirits have always been violently attacked by mediocre minds.”

  • MikeMck

    I can’t imagine this was done for any other reason than trying to get out of his contract. This sounds like one of the worst cases I have heard.

    The UFC did their due diligence. Lesnar passed multiple drug test before he failed two for a non performance enhancer. The UFC had clean drug test in hand before the fight.

    The last problem with the case is probably damages. I’m curious what Hunt is claiming to have lost?

    This fight was the biggest shot of Hunts life. Even though he was dominated his earning potential is higher simply being in the cage with Brock. It’s sad that he can’t just be thankful for that. It will likely be the biggest payday of his life.

    On a side note, maybe Hunt is playing some crazy angle for a rematch. I’d bet money that if offered, Hunt would agree to a rematch with no testing today.

    He should stop reminding us of how he got beat.

  • Muaythai4life

    It’s an interesting law suit, and a novel idea, however, I don’t think you can sue a company to enforce a contractual provision that is non-existent. It doesn’t sound like Mark Hunt is upset he fought juiced up opponents – it sounds like he’s upset that when they get caught, he doesn’t get their entire pay check. That’s a small but recognizable difference. Mark is’t as upset about fighting someone who could potentially do significant irreparable harm to him as much as he’s mad he doesn’t get paid more for doing it, at the penalty of the other fighter.

    I don’t do contract law so I can’t really state whether or not it’s possible, AND I haven’t read the complaint to see exactly what he’s asking for. It seems to me, however, that this could really be handled better by a fighter union (which doesn’t really exist well at this point).

    However, I do think it’s something that should happen. If you juice and are caught, there should be some sort of compensation to the person you fought. A lengthy suspension is a good punishment, but it doesn’t do anything for the opponent you cheated against.

  • jack lee

    mark hunt cry baby got hes ass beat , like the loser democrats still crying about it. hes over the hill should stay retired for good. wouldn’t watch him fight anymore myself . time for the new guys,let the hunts, lesners,lidels , rampages , titos,ect all fade away .