It’s not without a certain kind of, what…celestial kismet?...that Mark Hunt’s next fight comes against Alistair Overeem, who dodges asterisks as if they were incoming Chinese stars. In early-2017, Hunt has become a one-man anti-PED crusade who is pretty damn fed up with fighting these overblown cats with seething hormones. Sick of it to the point that he asked for a provision in his contract that guarantees he take home his opponent’s full purse the next time that opponent pops for PEDs (a request that was promptly ignored). Sick of it that he turned down “millions” in fights trying to get that done (his estimates).
Sick of it to the point that he is suing the UFC ahead of his UFC 209 fight with Overeem (which is what you might call an additional backdrop to the drama). Or he might be suing in spite of his upcoming fight. Or in spite of a peaceful resolve, of Brock Lesnar, the UFC, the needle, Overeem, Antonio Silva, Frank Mir, the whole of Japan, and all the conspirators that have come to give him different meaning in his forty-second year of life.
It’s been a great dawning to action for the “Super Samoan.” No longer is it Hunt’s vicious punching power and rock solid chin that define him. Now it’s Hunt’s principles. It’s his fight within the fight. It’s the image of monsters throwing bombs.
And on principle, it’s a noble pursuit what Hunt is doing. It does look shady as hell that Lesnar was granted an exemption to the regular four-month USADA window to fight him at UFC 200, especially now that Lesnar popped for an anti-estrogenic (Hydroxy-clomiphene) both in and out of competition. It’s easy to see it from Hunt’s perspective. He signed up to fight a fair fight, in a spot where the UFC needed him, and Lesnar slides in as a cheater, makes his millions, gets out, gets caught, and receives the monetary/disciplinary equivalent of a slap on the wrist
As in, he’s eligible to fight again in July, if he so desires, and the $250,000 he was docked isn’t exactly going to turn him red(der) with rage.
From Hunt’s POV, that’s some serious B.S., though. Lesnar was the name, but he was the one getting pummeled. That kind of thing will burn a hole in a thinking man.
That’s why Hunt (presumably) turned himself into a cause when he learned of Lesnar’s violation. He was suspicious of Lesnar beforehand, saying he looked “juiced to the gills,” and in the aftermath has become a default spokesman against the unnatural hulks of his division, as well as the UFC which houses them. He wanted the UFC to penalize Lesnar monetarily for sliding into the UFC 200, making his millions, and then sliding back out. He demanded half of Lesnar’s pay, and later all of it. He believes the UFC was essentially working as an accomplice to Lesnar’s cheating. Now he’s rolling out them fairly heavy courtroom words…racketeering…fraud…negligence…breach of contract.
In filing his civic suit in Las Vegas on Tuesday he laid it all out, blasting the UFC (and USADA) for, among other things, “…affirmatively circumvented and obstructed fair competition for their own benefit, including being complicit in doping proliferation under the guise of advancing ‘the best anti-doping program in all of professional sports.” He cited the “various and rampant purported use exemptions, drug testing exemptions,” as examples, and said the UFC failed to “enforce its own policies.”
His legal team even made mention of the Vitor Belfort situation, back when Belfort fought Jon Jones at UFC 152 in 2012 after learning of a sketchy drug test (remember?).
Guess Hunt wasn’t just shrugging his shoulders when he relented to fight Overeem, who has a past with PEDs. He’s not ready to let the UFC go on with its regularly scheduled beatings without adding his own footnotes. He and his legal team waited until the Overeem fight was booked to file the suit. He said he was going to act beforehand, though, and he did. He wants to be compensated for the unfair treatment. In an unfair prizefight, he’s merely asking for the prize portion to be divided accordingly through the operative word: “unfair.”
It’s simple way of looking at it, even if in reality things are rarely that simple. And let’s be honest: Hunt wants some freaking money. You can skew that as you want.
It doesn’t change the root of the problem.
He may not be making noise in the heavyweight title picture, but Hunt’s making a certain kind of noise heading into his fight with Overeem. It’s a noise that can’t fall on deaf ears. The UFC will have to deal with Mark Hunt, after choosing not to for so long. He’s forcing the issue. Just like when the UFC inherited him in the Pride FC purchase, Hunt is a problem to be sorted out. Win or lose, he has always gone down swinging.
Nothing different this time through, except maybe where he’s choosing to focus his aim.