Mark Hunt could be on the hook for 388K worth of the UFC’s attorney’s fees and costs following his failed lawsuit against the promotion.
The death of Mark Hunt’s lawsuit against the UFC (Zuffa) is not the end of his legal battle with them. Per a report by Paul Gift of Forbes Sports and Bloody Elbow, the promotion is looking to recoup its legal costs from him, to the tune of $388,235,22. Yikes.
That’s $301,792.50 for attorney’s fees, and $86,442.72 in associated costs, to be exact. A lot of photo copies and paper clips, perhaps.
In their motion, lawyers for the promotion wrote that Hunt “lobbed inflammatory and false allegations against Zuffa and [Dana] White including that they ‘affirmatively circumvented and obstructed fair competition for their own benefit,’ engaged in ‘a pattern of conduct wrongfully jeopardizing fighter health and safety for profit,’ and created ‘working conditions rising to contractual compulsion to repeatedly fight opponents who use illegal performance enhancing drugs, including amphetamines and anabolic steroids.'”
It goes on to claim that these accusations “were widely disseminated to the public by Hunt, his counsel, and the multiple media outlets covering professional mixed martial arts.”
Interestingly enough, the UFC’s move to recoup fees and costs references a “prevailing party fee provision” in the Promotional and Ancillary Rights Agreement between Hunt and the company. In other words, an existing clause in Hunt’s contract with the company means should legal action arise between them, the prevailing party (in this case UFC/Zuffa) is entitled to have their fees covered.
Attempting to recoup costs is far from unheard of in the legal realm. However, the move likely won’t sit well with MMA fans, many of whom sided with Hunt when he went after the promotion in the wake of UFC 200 in 2016. Hunt, a popular heavyweight with a long history of facing off against fighters later found to be doping cheats, sued the UFC, Brock Lesnar, and Dana White the following year. In the suit, he alleged the promotion had committed racketeering and fraud, in part due to Lesnar’s positive pre-fight doping test not being returned until after the fight had transpired. The lawsuit suggested the promotion had knowledge, or “willful indifference to the fact that Lesnar was using banned substances” prior to the event, but waved a four-month testing period for the fighter regardless.
An original decision win for Lesnar, the fight was eventually overturned to a No Contest when he tested positive for clomiphene, an anti-estrogen agent.
A Nevada court threw out the bulk of Hunt’s complaint earlier this year, and ruled against him on the final count just weeks ago. Throughout the bulk of the legal battle, Hunt remained under contract to the UFC. He fought the final fight of his deal against Justin Willis in December 2018. Hunt has not competed since.