Former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar and the UFC began negotiations in March of 2016. In June he signed with the promotion for a fight with Mark Hunt at UFC 200 in July. Ordinarily, fighters returning to the UFC are subject to four months of PED testing before fighting, but that can be waived, and was.
Lesnar failed a PED test, but the results came back after he beat Hunt via decision. Hunt’s attorney Christina Denning sees a conspiracy and is suing both the UFC and Lesnar.
“He was in on this,” said Denning to Steven Marrocco for MMAjunkie. “He’s coming from the WWE – he’s on steroids – and he can’t sign up officially with the UFC in March, because he’s going to be dumped into this program for doping and he’s going to fail.”
“He talks about how big he is and how much money he’s going to make on this. He is purposely conspiring to circumvent doping regulations.”
Lesnar was fined $250,000 and suspended for a year, but Denning says there was no real deterrence in the punishment.
“Sure, $250k is a big chunk of change, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s nothing,” she said. “It was a good investment.”
“There’s nothing deterring Brock Lesnar from doping, getting $5 million-plus from pay-per-view and the purse, and just turning around to pay a nominal fraction of that when they have no desire to come back to the UFC, anyway. The avenue to punish Brock is there. It’s just not being executed by the UFC, which is a problem, because this is what happens in every situation.”
Denning says a verdict from the court could be a different matter.
“If you’re suing somebody for fraud and punitive damages, and they only make $100,000 a year, the jury is not going to award that much in damages. But when you’re the UFC and the jury sits and hears about how awful and how egregious the pattern of conduct was leading up to UFC 200 and going back to prior fights, knowing how much the UFC’s worth, they can award an amount sufficient to deter future conduct.”
Whether from the UFC or Lesnar or some privately negotiated mix, Denning wants money.
“We’re not making any allegations as to [whether Lesnar is more responsible than the UFC or vice versa],” said Denning. “We just want a bunch of money based on what the statutes allow us. There’s punitive damages at issue here sufficient to punish the UFC, and the UFC has a lot of money.”
The attorney said she is open to a negotiated settlement, but the number has to be big.
“If they all wanted to be represented by the same person and offer us a package and we never knew who was paying what, we probably wouldn’t care, as long as it was an amount that was fair,” she said.
The UFC and Lesnar declined to comment.
Hunt fights Alistair Overeem at UFC 209 on March 4, 2017; he says going forward any opponent who fails a PED test will get sued.