UFC heavyweight fighter Mark Hunt is suing UFC, its president Dana White, and his UFC 200 opponent Brock Lesnar, as he hopes to get the entire purse for his UFC 200 match due to Lesnar’s recent doping charges.
As he is still signed to WWE, Brock Lesnar’s appearance at UFC 200 generated a lot of interest, considering the successful transition “The Beast Incarnate” made upon shifting to mixed martial arts years after his original departure from WWE. While with UFC, Lesnar had held the company’s Heavyweight Championship, knocking out the legendary Randy Couture at UFC 91 on November 15, 2008, and defeating Frank Mir and Shane Carwin as he defended his title.
Slowed down by bouts with diverticulitis, Lesnar lost his UFC Heavyweight Championship to Cain Velasquez at UFC 121 on October 23, 2010, and retired from MMA after another loss to Alistair Overeem over a year later. He then made his return to professional wrestling, enjoying a productive run as a part-time talent in WWE, but given the event’s milestone status, he signed up to fight a one-off match against Mark Hunt at UFC 200, which took place on July 9 of last year.
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Less than a week after Lesnar beat Hunt via unanimous decision at UFC 200, the 39-year-old fighter was notified of a potential United States Anti-Doping Association (USADA) violation from a pre-fight test. With that test and another in-competition sample registering positive results, Lesnar was suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission in December, with the suspension set to end one year from UFC 200.
All the while, Mark Hunt and UFC have been at odds, as the 42-year-old New Zealander has been very critical of the company and very insistent that he should receive the prize money for his UFC 200 match, due to Lesnar’s doping charges. Hunt only received $700,000 for losing the fight, which was later on changed by the NSAC to a no-contest.
In an interview with Fox Sports Australia in July, he let loose in a profanity-filled tirade against the UFC and Lesnar, demanding that he gets half of the purse; at that time, it hadn’t been confirmed that Lesnar was positive for the estrogen-blocking drugs clomiphene and hydroxyclomiphene. But now that Brock is suspended due to those positive drug tests, Hunt wants all of the money, and has taken legal action to get what he feels he deserves.
The suit filed this week alleges UFC, company president Dana White, and Lesnar of racketeering and fraud, with the parties accused of “affirmatively (circumventing) and (obstructing) fair competition for their own benefit.” Hunt also requested that he be compensated for damages relating to his physical wellbeing and his “overall brand.”
Hunt’s lead attorney, Christina Denning, spoke to ESPN and stressed that she and Hunt feel Lesnar received a slap on the wrist by only being fined 10 percent of his $2.5 million purse in conjunction with his doping suspension.
“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. 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.”
While Denning told ESPN that Mark Hunt is suing UFC and Lesnar for an unspecified amount of damages “in the millions,” a report from PWInsider quoted Hunt’s official website, where the fighter said that he’s seeking the entire $2.5 million winner’s purse in his lawsuit.
“Yes, I am suing Lesnar and the UFC for his entire purse. Cheaters deserve nothing!”
In his own statement on the lawsuit, Hunt accused the UFC of allowing fighters such as Brock Lesnar to get off easy after testing positive for prohibited substances, and not fining enough money for being “cheaters.” He has also demanded anti-doping clauses in his fights going forward, stating that an opponent should forfeit his entire winner’s purse should he flunk a drug test.
“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.”
Despite Mark Hunt’s decision to sue UFC, he is still scheduled to face Alistair Overeem at UFC 209 this March. Like Hunt’s last three opponents – Antonio Silva, Frank Mir, and Brock Lesnar – Overeem had also flunked a drug test, getting a nine-month suspension from the NSAC that ended in December 2012.
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