The Mark Hunt saga continues tonight against heavy hitting Derrick Lewis, but the many layers surrounding Hunt will be the real story in the long run. The New Zealand native’s current anti-PED agenda against the UFC and previous opponents, Brock Lesnar and Alistair Overeem – two fighters who tested positive for PEDS in the past- have overshadowed his fighting ability as his career reaches its tail end.
UFC 200 was a historic milestone for the UFC and because of that the UFC brass felt they needed some extra star power in order to live up to the hype of UFC 100, which took place in 2009. One of those stars who was a huge part of UFC 100’s PPV buy rate was none other than Brock Lesnar so why wouldn’t the UFC phone the former UFC Heavyweight for a potential comeback despite still being signed with the WWE as a part time talent. The problem was the USADA all year round drug testing system is now in place and in order for a fighter coming out of retirement to compete for the UFC, said fighter would have to notify the UFC four months in advance prior to the fight date. The UFC was granted an exemption for Lesnar or any other last minute signing should another fighter opt out of retirement.
This did not sit well with Hunt or a lot of fans for that matter, but the UFC’s intention to use Lesnar as a surprise inclusion to UFC 200 might’ve been what motivated them to coming to an agreement with Lesnar just one month prior to the event. Despite complaints Hunt decided to go through with the fight given the payday and his competitiveness, but in the end he would taste defeat via unanimous decision to Lesnar. Then in a matter of days following the defeat came the revolution that Lesnar failed a drug test administered on June 28th and another drug test on the day of the fight. Lesnar tested positive for an anti-estrogen substance and Hunt although not surprised was rightfully angry. In January he went on to file a lawsuit against the UFC, and Lesnar on charges of racketeering, fraud, breach of contract and civil conspiracy. Hunt’s argument is that the UFC had planned Lesnar’s return since March, which would’ve given them enough time to adhere to USADA’s four month policy. Hunt is also arguing that the UFC could have sped up the process of receiving the drug test results for a reasonable fee but decided against doing so.
Hunt’s stance against the UFC appears to be losing him fans as he’s been labeled a “whiner” by many and the fact that Hunt holds losses against current UFC Heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, former champ Fabricio Werdum and more recently Alistair Overeem, hurts his chances at reaching the top of the division.
The lack of support Hunt is receiving from his peers is no surprise given the nature of fear of retaliation, but just a few years ago we had the Rally for Mark Hunt slogan going on for the Super Samoan, but I guess a lot can change in a few years. Hunt’s initial stance on PEDS was that he didn’t care and would still win despite the potential unfair advantage his opponent would have.
Weeks before his fight against Lesnar addressed the media and stated, “That’s on them.” He continued, “that’s not on me at all. I can’t control what they’ll be doing.”
He continued, “I don’t care if you’re cheating or not. I’ll punch your face in. That’s all I’ve got.”
The change of heart sparked confusion among fans, but it seems that the lack of regard for his health and the integrity of the sport was too much for the Pride legend to let go. Hunt’s demands for Lesnar to give up his purse and for a new clause in his contract stating he’d receive the entirety of his opponent’s purse should they it be revealed that they failed a drug test. The UFC is not known for agreeing to a fighter’s demands very often so it’s no surprise that the lawsuit is ongoing despite the UFC’s attempts to dismiss the case last month. Should the case go to trial there is a chance both parties settle out of court, but the plot certainly thickens with the case moving forward even though there is belief that a few of the charges will be scrapped by the judge.
The UFC’s lack of transparency is at stake and it wasn’t long ago that a Deadspin report stated that the UFC was aware of Vitor Belfort exceeding the limit of his testosterone levels and still allowed him to compete at UFC 152 against Jon Jones. Although Dana White publicly denied knowing about Belfort’s testosterone levels, it’s still a shady situation. It’s true that TRT was legal back in 2012, but the UFC using the lack of knowledge of right and wrong when dealing with fighters who used TRT is unacceptable. Sadly, Jones put the debacle behind him along with the NSAC’s strange administration of a drug test for a recreational drug since cocaine is not considered a banned substance. The NSAC’s copout response was that the test was an “administrative oversight.” The fact that the results were made public are even more damning.
Hunt on the other hand finds himself in the biggest fight of his career and I’m not referring to tonight’s showdown against Lewis. Win or lose, Hunt has an opportunity to etch his name in MMA history as one of few athletes who stood up against the machine and won. That has to count for something among the MMA community. Call him whatever you’d like, but there’s one thing Hunt is not and that is a coward.