Former UFC heavyweight Mark Hunt’s lawsuit against the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Dana White and Brock Lesnar following his controversial No Contest against Lesnar has mostly been dismissed.
Judge Jennifer A. Dorsey of the United States District Court of Nevada dismissed Hunt’s claims that he was owed damages after initially losing the fight against Lesnar, who tested positive for banned substances in a post-fight drug screening. At the crux of Hunt’s argument was that the UFC and Lesnar conspired to allow the WWE star to compete at UFC 200 knowing that he was using performance-enhancing drugs. However, the judge dismissed the claims with “prejudice” and now Hunt will not be able to re-file a claim against the UFC and Lesnar for this incident.
The judge did, however, not dismiss one part of the lawsuit, suggesting the UFC didn’t act in good faith with Hunt. The judge ruled that Hunt and the world’s leading MMA promotion should engage in a conference to settle their differences once and for all.
For Hunt, this is obviously not the result he had been looking for ever since he sued the UFC a couple years ago. Though many MMA fans and even media believed Hunt was correct in thinking Lesnar, the UFC and USADA were all in cahoots to mask his drug tests, there was no way to prove that was the case. It was worth it for Hunt to take a shot and try to sue based on the amount of money involve, but at the end of the day it was a legal argument he couldn’t win.
The silver lining out of all of this is that Hunt is now no longer part of the UFC roster, having recently fought out his contract with a decision loss to Justin Willis. The relationship between the UFC and Hunt was awkward, to say the least, and now both sides are able to go their separate ways. Hunt is a free agent now and is able to sign with any promotion. There’s already been plenty of speculation that both RIZIN and ONE could be interested in Hunt’s services given his popularity in the Asia and Oceanic markets. But I wouldn’t count Bellator out either as they have plenty of heavyweights on their roster and could absolutely use an exciting, popular fighter like Hunt to strengthen their heavyweight division. For the UFC, losing Hunt from its heavyweight division is a loss, but not a big one for them considering his age and how much depth and talent the division currently has in its top-15. It’s not like Hunt was going to compete for the title anytime soon, so the UFC surely isn’t too upset this saga is over.
With this lawsuit out of the way, you have to imagine it’s a good opportunity to speed up Lesnar’s return to the Octagon. The former champ is still rumored to be next for current champ Daniel Cormier, but for whatever reason we’ve heard nothing about his return lately. We’ll see if that change now.