JOHANNESBURG - New Zealand’s most famous mixed martial artist, Mark Hunt filed civil charges against his employer, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) on Tuesday.
In the complaint, Hunt (12 wins 10 losses 1 draw 1 no-contest) alleges that the largest MMA promotion in the world allowed his last opponent, UFC and WWE Star Brock Lesnar, to use banned substances in his preparation for their co-main event bout at the landmark UFC 200 event last July in Las Vegas.
Filing the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations) lawsuit, the ‘Super Samoan’ claims that without his knowledge “the UFC conspired and caused Lesnar, a doping fighter, to fight Hunt, a clean fighter, despite the fact that Lesnar used substances banned by the UFC, USADA and WADA.
PICTURE: Mark Hunt. CREDIT: Wikimedia Commons.
The substances, Clomiphene and 4-Hydroxyclomiphene, are known ‘Post Cycle Therapy’ (‘PCT’) substances believed to be used after a period of strength training with anabolic steroids or similar prohibited substances.”
According to the UFC’s Anti-Doping Policy, athletes returning from retirement have to give four-months’ notice of their intention to return to competition so that they may be nominated for random out-of-competition testing by USADA.
The UFC however, for reasons still unclear yet from which negative assumptions may be drawn, allowed Lesnar, one of the biggest stars in the sport, an exemption which according to the same policy may be given “in exceptional circumstances or where the strict application of that rule would be manifestly unfair to an Athlete.”
Hunt, who hails from the mean streets of South Auckland, contends that by granting Lesnar’s secretive exemption, the UFC inflicted upon Hunt “severe physical injury, as well as economic and non-economic damages including without limit damage to his reputation, title contention, and future earning capacity.”
Lesnar won the bout by unanimous decision, an outcome that was overturned following pre-fight drug tests, which were only disclosed after the event, found that Lesnar had popped positive for several banned substances.
PICTURED: Brock Lesnar. CREDIT: Wikimedia Commons.
Hunt however doesn’t stop there, but claims that the Lesnar case is the tip of the iceberg in that 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 alleges that the UFC suppressed the positive results of Vitor Belfort’s drug tests at UFC 152 four years previous in Toronto by threat of litigation and allowed the Brazillian to fight then defending champ Jon Jones with two-and-a-half times the normal range of testosterone.
He then continues to name several other opponents, Frank Mir and Antonio Silva who were granted drug exemptions.
Concluding the charge, Hunt alleges that the UFC maximized profit by citing the recent $4.2 billion UFC sale to WME/IMG, “to the detriment of the health and safety of all fighters and to the detriment of fair competition.”
Interestingly, Hunt is expected to face Alistair Overeem on 4 March this year at UFC 209 with a contractual stipulation that he will receive a majority pay purse compensation if his opponent is caught doping.
Whether that bout will actually go ahead now remains to be seen as fans of the sport remain glued to the bulletin boards in anticipation of the UFC’s next move.
Certainly, the new owners of the organisation didn’t envisage 2017 starting in this manner with the Pandora’s Box it may have opened when one of their most popular 256 pounders became a legal Heavyweight to face them for a fight, the type for which they may not have the appetite.