UFC heavyweight Mark Hunt is known as one of the hardest hitters in all of MMA. Apparently, he swings pretty hard in court, as well.
Hunt today filed civil charges against the UFC, Brock Lesnar and UFC President Dana White in U.S. District Court, seeking both compensatory and punitive damages, as well as an order for the defendants to “disgorge their ill-gotten profits.”
ESPN.com first reported the filing, a copy of which can be seen here.
Hunt’s complaint stems from his UFC 200 bout with Lesnar, which the WWE star won via unanimous decision but later saw overturned after pre-fight drug tests – the results of which were not revealed until after the July contest – were found positive for banned substances.
Hunt’s suit contends “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.”
“I want the UFC to understand it’s not OK to keep doing what they’re doing,” Hunt told ESPN.com. “They’re allowing guys to do this. They had a chance to take all the money from this guy, because he’s a cheater, and they didn’t.
“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.”
Hunt (12-10-1 MMA, 7-4-1 UFC) is currently expected to face Alistair Overeem (41-15 MMA, 6-4 UFC) at UFC 209 on March 4 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
UFC officials were not immediately available for comment.
Hunt contends UFC officials allowed Lesnar to compete at UFC 200 “with knowledge or willful indifference to the fact that Lesnar was using banned substances” due to the former UFC champ’s exemption from the required four-month participation in the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s testing pool.
As MMAjunkie reported ahead of UFC 200, according to Rule 5.7.1 of the UFC’s Anti-Doping Policy, fighters coming out of retirement have to give the promotion a four-month heads up that they plan to return to the octagon. And that period is used to put that fighter into the pool for random out-of-competition drug testing.
However, according to the rule, an exemption may be given, at the UFC’s discretion, “in exceptional circumstances or where the strict application of that rule would be manifestly unfair to an Athlete.”
Hunt’s complaint that loophole ultimately saw him step into the cage against an opponent with an unfair damage, at which point the 42-year-old slugger “suffered severe physical injury, as well as economic and non-economic damages including without limit damage to his reputation, title contention, and future earning capacity.”
However, Hunt charges that the promotion’s behavior goes well beyond the actions surrounding UFC 200, instead suggesting the “conduct in connection with UFC 200 is representative of and consistent with a pattern of conduct by Defendants of wrongfully jeopardizing fighter health and safety for profit, in violation of state and federal law and the UFC’s own policies. The UFC’s pattern of conduct includes, but is not limited to, granting doping exemptions and drug testing exemptions to known doping competitors, and causing those drug-enhanced fighters to compete with clean fighters.”
The suit points to past incidents with Vitor Belfort, not to mention Hunt’s own bouts with Frank Mir and Antonio Silva, to further the allegations of impropriety.
For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, including UFC 209, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.