Former UFC interim heavyweight title challenger Mark Hunt has not fought in MMA since he wrapped up his UFC contract with a unanimous decision loss to Justin Willis in late 2018. The loss closed out a 1-3 (1 NC) run that began with a (later overturned) defeat to Brock Lesnar at UFC 200. To hear the 47-year-old tell it, it seems as though that’s how his MMA career is going to end.
“I’m done fighting,” Hunt said on The MMA Hour. “I think I lost a passion a long time ago when I filed this lawsuit against the UFC. They took the passion away from me, to be honest. The only fight I had since I left the UFC was a boxing match. I couldn’t get another match anywhere. I didn’t think any company would pick me up because of this lawsuit, to be honest.”
Hunt filed a lawsuit against the UFC in 2017. In it, the ‘Super Samoan’ claimed the UFC knew of Brock Lesnar’s use of a banned substance before the two heavyweights stepped into the Octagon at UFC 200. Lesnar won the bout by unanimous decision, a result overturned to a ‘no contest’ after USADA revealed that Lesnar had tested positive for the banned substance clomiphene during a pre-fight drug test. Lesnar also tested positive for that same substance in samples collected after the fight with Hunt.
Most of Hunt’s suit was dismissed in Nevada court in February 2019. The final charge of breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing was dismissed in November of the same year.
Earlier this month, it was reported that Hunt was dealt another blow in March of 2020, when he was ordered to pay the UFC $388,235 in attorney fees and costs. Hunt has appealed the dismissal of his lawsuit, however, reviving his claims over fraud and battery. Notably it appears that the appellate court disagreed with the initial judge’s finding that fighters consent to facing opponents who may be doping as part of the expected culture within combat sports.
“Even if the Supreme Court of Nevada were to conclude otherwise, dismissal of Hunt’s battery claims would not be appropriate at the pleading stage,” the appellate court noted in their decision to revive Hunt’s claims. “The California Supreme Court’s application of assumption of the risk principles in Avila v. Citrus Community College District was predicated on a factual finding that intentional beaning is within the range of ordinary baseball activity. Avila, 38 Cal. 4th at 165, 171 (Kennard, J, dissenting). Here, there has been no similar conclusion that doping is within the normal scope of organized MMA activity, nor does the question appear to be beyond reasonable dispute.”
Even as Hunt’s legal battle continues, it seems he feels it has already sealed his fate in MMA. The former K-1 World Grand Prix winner told Ariel Helwani – sense of humor still intact – that he felt he had been effectively blackballed from the sport as a result of the litigation.
“Why wouldn’t you hire someone as good as me? I mean, such a good-looking guy, such a great fighter. Why wouldn’t you hire someone like me? I think I got blacklisted, to be honest. I couldn’t get a match anywhere,” said Hunt.
Hunt boxed former rugby player Paul Gallen in December 2020. He lost that fight by decision.