Mark Hunt’s Lawsuit Against UFC Suffers Setback, Majority of Case Dismissed

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Mark Hunt, among the bonus winners at UFC Auckland
Mark Hunt Credit: Taro Irei/Sherdog.com

Heavyweight Mark Hunt’s lawsuit against the UFC, Brock Lesnar, and Dana White has been dealt what could be a knockout blow.

Mark Hunt has suffered a defeat in the courts that could drastically alter the outcome of his lawsuit against the UFC, Dana White, and former heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar. This week, the bulk of that lawsuit was dismissed, leaving little recourse for a fighter who feels he was wronged, repeatedly, by the promotion, and fighters found to have been doping.

Judge Jennifer Doresy of the U.S. District Court (Nevada) dismissed, with prejudice, all claims against White and Lesnar, per a report by MMA Fighting. Hunt’s claim that the parties, including the UFC, had committed racketeering, fraud, battery and civil conspiracy as well as other crimes were also dismissed. The lone remaining claim that is still active, against the UFC alone, is that promotion committed a breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

Hunt launched the lawsuit following UFC 200, where he suffered defeat at the hands of Lesnar. Shortly after the fight, it emerged Lesnar had failed pre-fight drug tests, the results of which were not returned prior to the fight taking place. The outcome was changed to a no contest, but in Hunt’s eyes, the damage was done. Additionally, Hunt had been pitted against a small army of drug cheats in his time in the UFC, including Alistair Overeem, Frank Mir, and Fabricio Werdum.

A major point in Hunt’s lawsuit was that the UFC waived the testing period for fighters under USADA for Lesnar when he unretired in 2016 and joined UFC 200. The UFC noted there was an allowance to waive this claim, and apparently, the judge took that into consideration. She also compared Lesnar’s doping to that of a pitcher intentionally hitting a batter in baseball (via MMA Fighting): “Like that intentional throw, the fact that Lesnar was allegedly doping violated the bout rules established by UFC and the NAC but does not alone establish that his conduct exceeded the ordinary range of activity in an MMA fight,” she wrote in her decision.

That’s an interesting argument, as it suggests that, despite being immoral, and illegal within (and at times outside) the sport, doping in MMA is to be expected. Another analogy could easily be made to ice hockey: fighting isn’t allowed under the rules and results in a penalty, but you’d better expect it.

The judge has referred what remains of Hunt’s suit to a settlement hearing.

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