Hunt’s Most Difficult Loss Comes Outside Octagon

November 15, 2023
3 months

Mark Hunt took many difficult losses during his UFC career. But the loss that may take the biggest toll on the New Zealand heavyweight has occurred nearly five years after his final fight for the promotion. Hunt’s lawsuit against the UFC was recently dismissed by an appeals court.

Hunt’s allegations centered around a fight between him and former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar at UFC 200. Hunt believed that the UFC knew that Lesnar was using performance-enhancing drugs. There was a long list of charges involved with the lawsuit, and Hunt was attempting to prove fraud, battery, aiding and abetting battery, and civil conspiracy claims.

While the latest MMA updates show that the UFC heavyweight division is a bit of a mess inside the octagon right now, things have been bad in the past before. The UFC is celebrating a victory over Hunt, who, at age 49, could have used a win. Because the legal system moves so slowly in the United States, this court case took nearly seven years to be resolved. 

After being struck down in 2019, the appeals court gave this situation new legs, and was finally settled in the past month.

Who is Mark Hunt?

Hunt is a native of South Auckland, New Zealand, and had a long career in kickboxing before making the leap into MMA. During his time with K-1, he won the World Grand Prix Finals in 2001 at the Tokyo Dome. To win the title, Hunt beat Brazilian Francisco Filho by decision. Hunt’s striking was so valued that he entered the UFC in September 2010 despite being on a four-fight losing streak in MMA fights. Despite his inconsistent start, Hunt would go 9-9 during his time in the UFC.

Hunt’s highlights included wins over former heavyweight champion Frank Mir and title challenger Derrick Lewis. Hunt ended his tenure with the UFC by losing four of his final five fights, culminating with a decision loss to Justin Willis on Dec. 2, 2018. Hunt finished his MMA career with a record of 13-14-1.

Who is Brock Lesnar?

Lesnar was an MMA fighter who was terrifying because of his overall athletic profile. In college, Lesnar won the NCAA Division I heavyweight championship at Minnesota. Lesnar debuted in professional wrestling in October 2000 and quickly rose through the ranks.

Lesnar became the WWE’s youngest champion at age 25. But Lesnar always seemed to be restless. In 2004, Lesnar attempted to make the Minnesota Vikings roster in the NFL despite having not played in college. After Lesnar’s unsuccessful stint with the Vikings, Lesnar went back into professional wrestling and competed in Japanese promotions.

Lesnar then pivoted to a career in MMA. Thanks to his star power, Lesnar fought for the UFC heavyweight title during his fourth career professional fight. Lesnar beat Randy Orton by TKO on Nov. 15, 2008, to win the title.

Lesnar would defend the championship twice against Frank Mir and Shane Carwin before losing the championship for good against Cain Velasquez at UFC 121 on Oct. 23, 20210. Lesnar finished his MMA career 5-3 but was one of the top-drawing box office performers. Five of Lesnar’s last six appearances in the UFC saw the promotion go over 1 million pay-per-view buys.

What Happened at UFC 200?

What sparked Hunt’s lawsuit was his loss to Lesnar at UFC 200. After nearly five years away from the octagon, UFC President Dana White convinced Lesnar to return for a final fight to help give the organization’s 200th numbered card a strong headliner. Lesnar was still enormously popular despite leaving the UFC to head back to professional wrestling with the WWE.

Lesnar would end up winning a wrestling-heavy decision over Hunt. The result of the bout would later be overturned after Lesnar tested positive for Clomifene. Clomifene is on the banned list from the World Anti-Doping Agency for being used as an anti-estrogenic substance.

Lesnar claimed the positive test was a result of a foot cream he used before the bout. However, despite initially wanting to fight the accusations, Lesnar retired from the sport instead. While Hunt didn’t get his financial demands met, the Nevada State Athletic Commission ended up ruling the bout a no contest.

Hunt Files a Lawsuit 

There wasn’t a long wait before the legal action started. Hunt believed when he first filed the lawsuit in 2017 that the UFC should hand over the entire $2.5 million purse Lesnar got from the fight to him. Hunt’s lawsuit was initially dismissed in 2019 by U.S. District Judge Jennifer A. Dorsey on five of the six counts of the case.

Hunt didn’t give up the legal fight and saw the courts pick an appeal in 2021. However, the arguments didn’t appear to be much more moving the second time around. Dorsey again dismissed the case recently. The judge felt the argument didn’t prove Hunt’s accusations against the UFC.

White, defiant as always, called Hunt “delusional” when asked about the situation at a recent press conference. He said the UFC plans to recoup some of the legal fees for the court battle from Hunt.

Losing the Case Not Great For Hunt

Having to pay back legal fees wasn’t a great outcome for Hunt. His capability for earning big purses through fighting is long gone. After Hunt left the UFC, he had a pair of boxing matches in 2020 and 2022. However, Hunt said the spark wasn’t there to continue fighting.

He feels the UFC has robbed him of his passion for fighting. However, Hunt also has to acknowledge that at his age, it isn’t safe to continue. While some fighters have fought way too late into their careers because they needed the money, there is always a chance that it ends tragically.

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