Mark Hunt is being threatened with almost $400,000 in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) legal fees, and the number could be even higher by the time his case against the fight promotion is complete.
Combat Sports Law’s Erik Magraken reports that recently published court documents from Hunt v. Zuffa show the United States District Court in Nevada ordering Hunt in March 2021 to pay UFC $388,235 in attorney fees and costs.
Back in 2017, Hunt filed a RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) lawsuit against UFC, Brock Lesnar and Dana White that included multiple charges, including conspiracy to commit crime related to racketeering, fraud, false pretenses, breach of contract, breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, negligence and unjust enrichment.
The meat of Hunt’s lawsuit was built around the fact that Lesnar had tested positive for clomiphene before (and after) his UFC 200 fight with Hunt. The pre-fight clomiphene test was only revealed to Hunt after he had lost a decision to the former WWE superstar.
Things didn’t look good for “The Super Samoan” after a U.S. District Court in Nevada dismissed all but one of Hunt’s claims (breaking the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing) in 2019. The final surviving claim was then thrown out on summary judgement. But, Hunt’s lawyers appealed and in Sept. 2021 the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit declared his charges of fraud and battery are valid and a proper court case will proceed.
That means Hunt won’t have to pay ... yet. Which is the reason he responded to this latest round of headlines by stating, “2022 the start of a new year and u saying I got to pay this cmon bro!”
But, the March 2021 order for Hunt to pay UFC’s legal fees shows the rising stakes for Hunt in this case and the reality for any UFC fighter who legally challenges the promotion they fight for. UFC has provisions in their contract that force all legal action to go through business-friendly Nevada courts, and allow the promotion to seek costs and legal fees.
So not only will UFC bring its biggest legal guns out to fight you, but you’ll probably end up having to pay for the privilege after it carpet bombs the courts with endless filings, delays and motions to dismiss.
Mid-January marks the five-year date of Hunt v. Zuffa being filed by Mark Hunt and his lawyers, and thus far there have only been dismissals, summary judgements and appeals. Who knows how high UFC’s legal costs will be by the time a Nevada court actually takes Hunt’s charges seriously?
Given the Nevada court’s willingness to incorrectly dismiss Hunt’s lawsuit the first time around, we don’t have much hope. But, someone’s gotta stand up when UFC allegedly gets caught hiding one of their biggest stars’ failed drug tests, right?