In the latest chapter of Mark Hunt’s continued displeasure after facing a series of heavyweight opponents who have been proven or alleged to be on performance enhancing drugs, the fighter has hired legal counsel who is questioning whether the UFC has engaged in actionable racketeering when it comes to doping in the sport.
Hunt has retained the legal services of Christina Denning and as reported by Michael Stets of MMAMania litigation based on racketeering allegations are being explored-
Denning told MMAmania.com she will be exploring the RICO Act (Racketeering influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) in regards to UFC possibly having knowledge of Lesnar being dirty and allowing him to step into the cage against Hunt at UFC 200 on July 9, 2016.
“One of these things that we are exploring–and same with Brock Lesnar there is cause of action against him as well–but one of the things that we are exploring is actually racketeering, RICO violations, because there is a pattern for the benefit of the UFC to gain monetary benefit off of engaging in this behavior. And it’s given that there is a pattern and Mark can speak to this, but not only Mark, whose fought three people that have tested positive and they asked him to fight some of them again, there are other fighters in the UFC, who do not take any banned substances, who have also been put in the same situation. And my understanding is for those persons, sometimes their next fight’s compensation is dependent on the outcome of what that result is.”
As previously discussed, there are doping skeletons lingering in MMA’s closet and litigation can be a powerful tool to bring these to light particularly if enhanced with allegations of racketeering which would allow the parties to dig deep in the discovery phase. The UFC would certainly point to their in house anti doping program which can fairly be considered the gold standard for any combat sports promoter.
It is unclear if this lawsuit will be pursued or is simply a negotiating tactic but if launched it will give rise to an ugly chapter for the sport.
Hopefully for Hunt’s and the UFC’s sake a sensible compromise short of full blown litigation can be tabled to address his concerns.