Mark Hunt has had a welcome boost in the lead-up to this weekend's UFC fight fest in Auckland.
The Kiwi-born fighter has received some good news regarding his lawsuit against the UFC, its high profile boss Dana White and American Brock Lesnar.
MMAFighting.com reported that the suit survived a motion to dismiss by the UFC and also revealed interesting details about Hunt's relationship with the all-powerful White.
Hunt's lawyers filed an amended complaint in US District Court, alleging the UFC, White and Lesnar committed racketeering, fraud, battery and civil conspiracy with regards to Lesnar's failed drug test at UFC 200 a year ago after he beat the Australian-based heavyweight.
MMA Fighting obtained a copy of the amended complaint. It claims that the UFC, White and Lesnar knew Lesnar was using performance-enhancing drugs ahead of the bout and cleared the way for Lesnar, a wrestling superstar, to beat American anti-doping rules and let him fight anyway.
Hunt has complained he was damaged both financially and physically by what his lawyers described as a "criminal conspiracy".
"LESNAR, WHITE, and UFC, acted in concert as set forth fully above, to defraud HUNT and commit a battery against HUNT by a scheme to knowingly pit HUNT, a clean fighter, against LESNAR, a doping fighter, to the wrongful benefit of Defendants and to the detriment of HUNT," MMA Fighting reported the complaint reads.
Lesnar tested positive for the banned substance clomiphene in a pre-fight, out-of-competition test and was then popped for the same substance on fight night.
The pre-fight test result did not come back before the fight. Lesnar was able to fight and defeated Hunt by unanimous decision. Lesnar was later suspended by both the US Anti-Doping Association (USADA) and the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) and fined $US250,000 by the NAC. The victory was overturned by the NAC to a no contest.
MMA Fighting reported that Hunt's complaint also features an alleged back-and-forth text with White where the big Kiwi expresses concern about Lesnar being on performance-enhancing drugs.
Hunt asked White on June 8, just two days after the fight was officially announced by the UFC, what would happen if Lesnar is "positive for cheating." White texted back that "USADA is testing the shit outta him".
The UFC had previously waived a rule for Lesnar that stated returning fighters must be in the USADA testing program for four months before competing again. MMA Fighting said Lesnar was only tested about one month out from UFC 200. Lesnar did pass multiple USADA tests in June before a June 28 sample - taken 11 days prior to the July 9 fight - came back positive after UFC 200.
Hunt asked White about that waiver and White replied in a text that the UFC "made a move to get a deal done" with Vince McMahon of WWE to get Lesnar a fight. Lesnar was and is under exclusive contract to WWE, the pro-wrestling promotion.
"We went after Brock," White texted to Hunt. "He has no problem doing whatever tests USADA wants."
In the amended complaint, Hunt's attorneys claim that the UFC, White and Lesnar were intentionally pushing back the signing of the bout agreement and announcement until as late as possible so Lesnar could avoid USADA until that time.
Prior to the high profile fight, Hunt said he knew Lesnar was "juicing" but didn't care and would knock him out anyway. MMA Fighting said the UFC's attorneys highlighted that in their initial motion to dismiss.
In his complaint, Hunt claims he has lost endorsement opportunities due to the loss to Lesnar. Hunt asked White if a documentary crew could follow him around at UFC 200 but the UFC turned him down.
MMA Fighting reported the complaint mentions failed drug tests by two previous Hunt opponents, Frank Mir and Antonio Silva as alleged evidence of the UFC's questionable handling of doping situations.
"Had HUNT known of WHITE, UFC and LESNAR's doping scheme, HUNT would have declined the fight, negotiated a far more lucrative agreement contemplating a clean fighter being subjected to hand-to-hand combat with a doping fighter, or otherwise protected his interests," the complaint read.
Hunt fights American Derrick Lewis, known as 'The Black Beast' at Auckland's Spark Area this Saturday in only the second UFC fight night to be held in New Zealand.
Hunt, currently ranked sixth in his division, has never fought in front of a Kiwi crowd in MMA and will be facing an uphill battle to beat Lewis who is on a six-fight win streak that dates back to 2015.
Hunt will be looking to bounce back from a devastating loss to Alistair Overeem last month when the 43-year-old was knocked out late in the fight.