When the UFC partnered up with USADA, one of the principal goals was to stop fighters from competing while under the influence of performance enhancing drugs. Athletes became subject to year-round random testing schedules that increased in frequency as they neared competition. Fail a test, get suspended.
But, what happens when a fighter is found to have failed a test, only after he’s already competed in the fight he was tested for? With anti-PED advocates arguing – perhaps wrongly – that PEDs could turn fighters into killing machines, what’s the appropriate fallout for a fighter found to have already fought while using them? What compensation does his opponent deserve for being placed at that kind of risk?
Those are questions it seems that Mark Hunt is looking to have answered. MMA Mania reports that, following Brock Lesnar’s recently failed drug test surrounding his UFC 200 bout against Hunt, the “Super Samoan” has retained legal council with an eye toward taking action against the UFC.
“It’s the third time I’ve had to fight a steroid user,” Hunt told MMAmania.com on a conference call with Denning and his longtime attorney Michael Connette. “I don’t think the penalties are harsh enough. I don’t think it is a fair environment. I’ve probably fought more juicers than anybody. The difference is now is that I realized I can actually lose an eye or something and not be able to compete again. I know fighting is kind of hard and all, but when these losers are taking steroids it makes it even worse.”
Hunt’s lawyer, Christina Denning of the San Diego based firm Higgs, Fletcher, and Mack, explained the potential course they could take in pursuing the UFC:
“We’ve got the UFC’s own anti-doping policy, which also gives the UFC the ability to take away Lesnar’s purse, and it’s broad enough to include any money that he makes from the result of these fights,” Denning explained. “So, theoretically, the UFC upon the finding of a violation could take all of the money back from Brock. Not only the 2.5 million dollar purse, but anything he earned from pay-per-view, if he had a win bonus–all of that–and then put it into it’s anti-doping program. Or better yet–and what we’d like to see happen–is the person that had to get in the ring with him gets allocated that money.”
“He feels taken advantage of by the UFC,” Denning told MMA Fighting in a separate statement. “He’s certainly looking at the UFC to make it right.” The next step will be based on the results of Brock Lesnar’s USADA and Nevada Athletic Commission investigations. Lesnar’s team is apparently looking to push his hearing back into December, and until the fallout of the hearing and any potential appeals is known Hunt’s team is waiting.
Well, not just waiting, they’re also apparently looking into the Racketeering influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act – RICO for short – with special regard for the 4-month testing exemption that Lesnar was granted in the lead-up to his UFC return against Hunt.
“Well, I can’t say with certainty and I don’t want to throw out allegations that are unsupported,” Denning told MMA Mania, “but one could suspect that the UFC and Brock Lesnar both knew that they were going to have a problem with these random drug tests and so they waited and sat on this announcement so he could get clean. And then he gets into the program and has a couple of results where he passes and then he starts taking whatever substance it is–and I’m not an expert on it–but he starts taking this substance knowing that this is a one-time stop in the UFC and he is now going back to the WWE, where he is part-time and not subject to any discipline there and it’s like this guy is invincible…”
The end goal for Hunt, it appears is a change to the UFC’s contracts with an additional provision. As the fighter himself put it: “If I have to fight a guy, who turns out that he was juicing, than [sic] I want his money. That should go into my bout agreement and that should go into his bout agreement with the UFC.”
So, rather than fining a fighter a portion of their purse and putting that money toward the future of the drug testing program, the entire purse would go toward their opponent. There’s a lot lot more detail as to just what Hunt is after and why in MMA Mania’s article, so check the whole thing out.
All of this seems to point toward Mark Hunt not competing in MMA for a while. Even beyond his desire to wait for Brock Lesnar’s punishment to shake out, a legal battle to change the structure of UFC contracts has all the hallmarks of a lengthy endeavor. Hunt has apparently already turned down potential fights with Junior Dos Santos and Josh Barnett since his loss to Lesnar. It may be that the only fighting he does anytime soon is in a courtroom.