In an update on the lawsuit filed by UFC fighter Mark Hunt against the UFC, Brock Lesnar and Dana White, the defendants in the case have to respond to the lawsuit by February 28th after being given a requested extension of time to respond to the suit which was filed last month, which notes that UFC was served officially with the suit, but does not indicate as to whether Lesnar was personally served.
For those wondering, Hunt’s lawsuit in the United States District Court of Nevada alleges that without Mark Hunt’s knowledge or consent, the UFC conspired and caused Brock Lesnar, a doping fighter, to fight Hunt, a clean fighter, despite the fact that Lesnar used substances bannded by the UFC, USADA and WADA and that the substances, clomiphene and 4-hydroxyclomiphene are known as Post Cycle Therapy (PCT) substances believed to be used after a period of strength training with anabolic steroids or similar prohibited substances.
The lawsuit claims that because Hunt lost his UFC 200 fight against Lesnar, he 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 and that Lesnar and the UFC were unfairly enriched due to Lesnar being able to fight despite doping and alleges that the defendants made money in excess of the $2.5 million that Lesnar made for his base fight purse at UFC 200 and that they did so at the expense of fighter safety and fair competition. Hunt also alleges that the UFC’s conduct leading into the UFC 200 pay-per-view was representative of and consistent with a patter 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 as 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 lawsuit points out that the UFC 200 pay-per-view took place just prior to the $4.2 billion sale of the UFC and that after Conor McGregor pulled out, the Lesnar vs. Hunt fight was moved to the all-important pay-per-view main event status and alleges that Dana White had a strong monetary motive (of approximately $360 million) to ensure the success of the landmark UFC 200 event, which occured immediately prior to finalizing the sale of the UFC and to ensure the UFC’s high profile bout between Lesnar and Hunt would not be jeopardized regardless of doping violations. The lawsuit also notes that Lesnar was given an exemption from the required four month testing needed for a fighter returning from retirement, even though it has been publicly acknowledged that UFC and Lesnar were in discussions for his UFC 200 fight at least four months before it was officially announced and even though UFC had publicly denied that Lesnar was back on the active fighting roster. Hunt alleges in the lawsuit that the one-off fight was promoted as such to keep Lesnar from being tested as per policy for returning fighters, as was the fact that Lesnar would not be tested until he actually signed his fight contract for UFC 200.
The lawsuit notes that on July 8th, 2016, Brock Lesnar completed a pre-fight questionnaire stating that he did not take or receive any medication or drugs, whether prescription or over-the-counter from anyone or any place within the month prior to his UFC 200 bout, however Hunt alleges that Lesnar had actually, upon information and belief, been taking banned substances prior to officially signing his UFC 200 fight contract since he was not being tested during that time period. The lawsuit alleges that the UFC and Lesnar worked together in order to hide Lesnar’s doping and create an unfair advantage for him, with the suit noting, “UFC wrongfully abused its discretion to grant Lesnar’s drug-testing exemption via USADA, as both Defendants had actual knowledge of Lesnar’s participation in UFC 200 more than four months prior to the event. UFC and Lesnar conspired and caused Lesnar to evade USADA drug testing with actual knowledge or reckless disregard of Lesnar’s use of prohibited substances. As a direct and proximate result of Defendants’ conduct, Defendants caused a doping competitor, Lesnar, to fight a clean fighter, Hunt, in violation of state and federal law and the parties’ respective contracts.” Hunt alleges that despite having the ability to expedite Lesnar’s drug test results, so that they could be returned within three days, UFC opted not to do so in order to protect Lesnar’s ability to fight, because it was so important to the financial well-being of the UFC 200 event.
The lawsuit notes that after the fight took place and Hunt lost to Lesnar, two different drug tests, one before the fight and one the night of the fight, showed that Lesnar had tested positive for clomipene and 4-hydroxyclomiphene and claims that in an adjudication agreement between Lesnar and the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Lesnar admitted to the above-referenced positive drug tests and admitted these positive tests brought disrepute to unarmed combat. Hunt also pointed out that his fight against Lesnar is now considered a no contest and stated that indeed, every time he fights a doping competitor with a resulting no contest outcome, his record remains stagnant and he is deprived of the opportunity to earn a win. Hunt also claims that UFC is actually in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act by working to allow certain fighters to be able to fight while doping, creating an unfair situation for clean fighters, while unjustly enriching the company to benefit themselves to the greatest maximum financial gain, including the recent sale of the company.
The lawsuit notes, “The above-referenced CONDUCT constitutes an “ENTERPRISE” within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. section 1961. This ENTERPRISE, consisting of individuals, corporations and other legal entities, and groups of individuals associated in fact, is separate and distinct from each individual Defendant. The structure of the ENTERPRISE consists of fight promotions, including UFC, doping fighters, including but not limited to Lesnar and Belfort, UFC employees and agents specifically referenced below, which ENTERPRISE is disguised and appearing as legitimately engaged in efforts to combat doping in MMA, when actually, the ENTERPRISE advances and willfully facilitates the use of steroids, both affirmatively and by omission as described herein. Each participant knowingly participates in the scheme and has a common purpose to acquire and obtain money by fraud, false pretenses or false representation or promises, which CONDUCT is facilitated by wire fraud including emails as described herein.”
In one interesting note, Hunt lists the WWE as a member of the Enterprise allowing such conduct, however WWE is not currently a defendant in the lawsuit and beyond the mention, there is no allegation that implicates WWE as a company or any of its officers by name in any way and beyond noting that the WWE allowed Brock Lesnar to compete and that Lesnar later appeared at WWE SummerSlam 2016, there are no other references to WWE in the lawsuit currently. In another interesting note, the lawsuit is also filed against John and Jane Does, with the idea that others may be identified and added to the lawsuit as the discovery process takes place, meaning that Hunt has essentially left the door open right now to bring any action against the WWE in the event that his attorneys are able to find something that can potentially implicate them. For those wondering, WWE have not yet commented on the situation, however others named in the alleged enterprise beyond Brock Lesnar, Dana White, WWE and UFC include Viktor Belfort, Frank Mir, Antonio Silva, UFC official Jeff Novitzky and former UFC VP and General Counsel Ike Epstein.
The lawsuit specifically claims that UFC, Lesnar and White, “Defendants and each of them, in the course of the ENTERPRISE and their respective occupations, knowingly and with the intent to defraud, engaged in multiple acts, practices and schemes which operated as a fraud and deceit by false representations,” and alleges that UFC breached Hunt’s contract with them through their actions, in that they were negligent in their care for him as a fighter and that the company broke covenant of good faith and fair dealing by deliberately countervening the intent and spirit of the contract through both its actions and omissions discussed herein, which conduct was not in good faith. Hunt also alleges that the UFC were in a superior position in their relationship him and wrongfully manipulated bouts, including UFC 200, in a manner that compromised his benefits under the above referenced contracts and that he was damaged due to the alleged acts against him to an amount that will have to be determined during trial.
Hunt has requested a jury trial and demanded that Lesnar’s UFC purse and pay-per-view proceeds be surrended to him, as well as the UFC surrendering him a proportionate share of its UFC 200 profits in an amount to be proven at trial as justice requires pursuant to laws of equity. UFC meanwhile, confirmed on February 13th that Brock Lesnar had informed them that he was once again retired from MMA competition. Lesnar has not yet publicly commented on the lawsuit, but will obviously resume his WWE commitments, including his match against Goldberg as part of WrestleMania 33.