As Mark Hunt did plenty of barking in the wake of Brock Lesnar's positive performance enhancing drug tests, you had to wonder if it would amount to any biting, or anything that could actually benefit Hunt. Damn, Hunt took an incredibly admirable stance in fighting against the big dawgs of Lesnar and the UFC but was there going to be any sort of result to Hunt's stance?
Then came the acceptance or non-acceptance of a fight against Alistair Overeem, scheduled to go down at UFC 209. Confirmation that this fight was booked, was quickly followed with a rebuttal from Hunt as he declared that he would not fight Overeem unless a clause was included in the contract to reimburse Hunt should Overeem test positive. There appeared to be some shenanigans at play here as the UFC dropped the announcement of the fight, apparently without Hunt's permission or recognition that his desired clause was there. Hunt subsequently backed down.
Now, Hunt has taken legal action against the UFC and Lesnar for what happened around the UFC 200 fight. The basic jist of it centres around the idea that the UFC didn't quite do the rules justice and possibly knew that Lesnar wanted to return to the UFC, before the start of the four-month window in which USADA (PED testing overlords) could test Lesnar.
Hunt is essentially saying that the UFC and Lesnar conspired to bend a few regulations, for financial benefit. When you consider that Lesnar was a late inclusion to UFC 200, bumping up the pay-per-view value of a landmark fight card, ensuring that Lesnar was there to fight Hunt regardless of his PED situation, seems fairly logical. That Hunt's health, career and life was put at risk for that financial gain is obviously terrible.
Let's not forget that Hunt's last three UFC fights have come against Antonio Siliva, Frank Mir and Lesnar. These three lads have all tested positive and now Hunt is set to fight Overeem, who himself as also previously tested positive. That makes it bloody understandable for Hunt to want protection in his contract, should Overeem test positive again.
We also get a dose of funk in the way Hunt has executed this; Hunt filed his lawsuit against the UFC and Lesnar, after agreeing to the Overeem fight. Up to this point, it all felt like Hunt was barking without the bite and as a man who has to feed his family, you would struggle to find fault in Hunt if he let this slide, to keep fight, to keep earning a living. Hunt will keep fighting, but now he's also taking a stand.
What I have found interesting in following this coverage, is that I and many of you have a unique perspective on Hunt's actions. I'm from South Auckland, so is Mark Hunt. Many of you are Samoan, so is Mark Hunt. Many of you have grown up in Aotearoa, so has Mark Hunt. Mark Hunt is one of us and our main guy in the UFC (shout outz Robert Whittaker and Dan Hooker) is standing up to the corporation for what is right.
For a long time, fighters haven't been able, nor wanted to stand up against the UFC on any sort of issue. Now, Hunt's hype regarding a fighters association played some sort of role in the launch of the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association and now Hunt is taking legal action himself.
Without knowledge of Hunt's evidence against the UFC and Lesnar, it seems like he could make a fairly reasonable case against the UFC; fighters who don't make wait, give up a portion of their fight purse to their opponent yet if a fighter tests positive, they pay a fine to fighting commissions and don't give up any purse to their opponent ... who they just beat up unfairly. Who knows how that's all going to play out though.
For now, we enjoy that show, salute Hunt for his actions and wait for Hunt vs Overeem on March 4th at UFC 209.