WEDNESDAY NEWS DIGEST 1/11: Mark Hunt files civil suit against UFC for handling of Brock Lesnar fight and his drug test failures (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)

By Michael Hiscoe, MMATorch contributor

Brock Lesnar and Mark Hunt (photo credit Joshua Dahl © USA Today Sports)

Mark Hunt may have been willing to accept a UFC fight with Alistair Overeem, but his true feelings towards the company were made known in a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

The civil suit filed in U.S. District Court is seeking damages “in the millions” and lists Brock Lesnar, Dana White, and Zuffa LLC as defendants. Brett Okamoto at ESPN was first to report the news.

The basis for the suit are allegations of racketeering and fraud in the handling of Hunt’s UFC 200 fight with Lesnar and Lesnar’s subsequent drug test failure for clomiphene.

A USADA mandated four-month testing window was waived for Lesnar, whose inclusion on the landmark UFC 200 event was announced just a month out from the show. Lesnar went on to fail tests on June 28, 2016 and again on the night of the July 9, 2016 fight. Because of this, Hunt claims the defendants “affirmatively circumvented and obstructed fair competition for their own benefit.”

The suit also alleges that UFC granted Lesnar an exemption from the four-month testing window with “knowledge or willful indifference to the fact that Lesnar was using banned substances.”

Hunt’s attorney, Christina Denning, told ESPN that she approached UFC to find a solution to Hunt’s grievances, but UFC wasn’t willing to impose further sanctions on Lesnar other than the one-year suspension and $250,000 fine he received from the Nevada Athletic Commission.

“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,” Denning said. “We also wanted them to accept the clause moving forward.” The clause being that Hunt’s opponent would forfeit his purse to Hunt should he fail a drug test.

Hunt’s March 4 fight against Overeem is still listed on but the company has yet to comment publicly on the suit.

Hiscoe’s Analysis: It’s a weird situation as Hunt is still under contract and presumably will continue fighting for the company. On first look, Hunt may have a hard time proving that UFC knew or should have known that Lesnar was using banned substances. Lesnar likely knew he was using banned substances, but he was punished under the rules that were laid out for him so he knew the risk. If Hunt can prove that UFC did or could have had the June 28 result before the fight, then he will have a case to receive damages.

An interesting side story to all of this is that if the case does go to trial, than Lesnar’s full purse including pay-per-view bonuses may be disclosed along with the official UFC 200 buy number, two things that are rarely officially disclosed by the company. We know that Lesnar received $2.5 million as a base salary for the fight, but once his full pay comes out, there may be some UFC fighters who suddenly aren’t happy with their contracts.


-The Daily Mail has reported and that Ronda Rousey’s Venice Beach home was vandalized with graffiti. The graffiti was illegible and photos showed Rousey looking heavier but not bruised up from her 48-second loss to Amanda Nunes at UFC 207.

-A Nevada Athletic Commission meeting agenda revealed that they will discuss the possibility of removing marijuana from the banned substances list.

-The Hector Lombard vs. Brad Tavares fight set for UFC on Fox on Jan. 28 is off due to injuries to both fighters.


-Ricardo Ramos vs. Michinori Tanaka at UFC Fight Night Houston on Feb 4.

-Alessio Di Chirico vs. Eric Spicely and Luis Henrique da Silva vs. Jordan Johnson, and Alex Caceres vs. Jason Knight at UFC on Fox from Denver on Jan. 28.

-Carla Esparza vs. Randa Markos at UFC Fight Night Halifax on Feb. 19.

-Ed Herman vs. Igor Pokrajac at UFC 209 on March 4.

-Vicente Luque vs. Leon Edwards, Brad Pickett vs. Henry Briones, Marc Diakiese, Oluwale Bamgbose vs. Tom Breese, Scott Askham vs. Brad Scott, and Francimar Barroso vs. Darren Stewart at UFC Fight Night London on March 18.

-Elizabeth Phillips vs. Leah Letson at Invicta FC 21 on Jan. 14 from Kansas City, MO.

-Melvin Guillard vs. Chidi Njokuani at Bellator 171 on Jan. 27 from Mulvane, Kansas.

NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UDPATE: TUESDAY NEWS DIGEST 1/10: UFC cancels event in Las Vegas once scheduled night before UFC 209 (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)

(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)

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