Mark Hunt wants it clear that his competitive fighting career is over.
Hunt hasn’t fought in MMA since December 2018, when he lost a unanimous decision to Justin Willis at a UFC Fight Night in Adelaide, Australia. It was his third straight loss and an unceremonious end to a UFC run that had already become highly toxic due to an ongoing RICO lawsuit Hunt filed two years prior against the promotion and its corporate parent.
Since leaving the UFC, Hunt’s only combat sports experience has been a boxing match in 2020. On The MMA Hour, “The Super Samoan” confirmed that his fighting days are done.
“I’m done fighting,” Hunt said. “I think I lost the passion a long time ago when I filed this lawsuit against the UFC. They took that passion away from me, to be honest. The only fight I’ve had since I left the UFC was a boxing match, [and] I couldn’t get another match anywhere. I don’t think any company would pick me up because of this lawsuit, to be honest.”
Asked if he felt he’d been blackballed by other promotions because of his legal battle with the UFC, Hunt said “definitely.”
“Why wouldn’t you hire someone as good as me?” he added. “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. The only match I got was back here at home in Sydney against Paul Gallen, who’s an ex-footie player. It was actually the most fun I’ve had in a long, long time competing, because it was on my terms, even though I lost the match. It was great, I had fun. It was like when I first started competing in fighting a long time ago. It was actually a great adrenaline rush.”
Not only has Hunt become disillusioned from battling the UFC in court, he also said it would be difficult for him to find the kind of payday he received to box Gallen. Hunt is two months shy of his 48th birthday, and at this point, he said he’d rather exert himself spending time with his children than worrying about his opponents inside a cage.
One fight that still has his attention, though, is his ongoing lawsuit against the UFC. In 2017, Hunt sued the UFC and parent company Zuffa LLC after it was revealed that his UFC 200 opponent Brock Lesnar tested positive for banned substances following their July 2016 bout. The result, initially a unanimous decision win for Lesnar, was overturned to a no-contest, and Hunt went on to accuse the UFC of knowingly covering up the results of Lesnar’s drug tests, which were not announced until August of that same year.
Hunt’s lawsuit against the UFC alleged a conspiracy to commit a crime related to racketeering, fraud, breach of contract, breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and negligence, among other charges. The charges were initially dismissed in Nevada court in February 2019, but Hunt’s team is preparing to take their case to the U.S. Court of Appeals this year to review the claims of fraud, battery, and civil conspiracy.
That legal battle is the only fight that matters to Hunt now.
“If I’m not going to be putting 100 percent in it, I’m not going to do it,” Hunt said. “I just wasn’t happy. The drive for fighting was gone because of this lawsuit. It’s just so annoying.
“I’m not announcing [that I’m not fighting anymore] because I’ve still got one fight left,” he added. “It’s happening right now, it’s the battle against the UFC in court. That’s the only fight that really matters, to be honest. The fight for equality against these — I’m not even going to go into a crazy rant, just the fight against the UFC to making it equal for these fighters. The fight against cheaters in this sport. That’s the last fight I’ve got.”
Hunt teased about taking the law into his own hands recently following a report that he could owe the UFC almost $400,000 in legal fees, challenging UFC President Dana White and former UFC executives Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta to a fight with the resolution of the lawsuit on the line, among other wagers.
Despite the hits he’s taken in court, Hunt is standing by his claims of impropriety on the part of the UFC.
“The truth is they cheated, Lesnar cheated, and yet I’m the one that’s sitting here and lost six years of the rest of my career that I could have fought a few more contracts,” he said. “People complain about me whining about it. I’m like, they’ve been doing this for a long, long time. They’ve been doing this for over 20 years, results coming back after fights. It’s just ridiculous. I’m the only one here that’s done nothing wrong, so where’s the recourse for this? This can’t be the answer, me just getting screwed and they keep doing this to every other fighter. That’s the problem.
“It’s not just my fight, this fight is for everyone else that’s been cheated at every position. They have guys like [UFC Senior VP of Athlete Health and Performance] Jeff Novitzky in there, ‘The Golden Rat’ or ‘Snitch’ or whatever he was, and he’s the one that caught Lance Armstrong. And now he’s working for those idiots. ... But I feel that people are starting to realize now. They’re starting to realize and see what’s happening — and what’s been happening for a long, long time — is this company is just a bunch of crooks.”
More frustrating for Hunt is that where he once found solace in martial arts, it is now inextricably tied to his negative associations with the UFC. He went on to elaborate on the regrets he has concerning his fighting career.
“It’s crazy because [the UFC lawsuit has] given me anxiety,” he said. “I came from a trouble background and fighting was my only outlet. Fighting is what saved my time from becoming a criminal in jail. That’s where I started. Fighting saved me to be a better person in life. Now I come to the top of my sport and I have to see this. Now it’s another fight, and this is the only fight that really matters to me to be honest. Every fight against another man is meaningless. They fight for a title that’s worthless, they fight for a title that has zero prestige at all. They’re fighting for a title that’s, ‘Hey, I’m going to need more money.’
“I’m the world champion like [Francis] Ngannou and he’s asking for more money. The whole lot of them, it’s just a joke. The UFC is actually a joke. And it’s taken 10 years I’ve competed in that company and then realizing at the end, all this was for what? I could have spent my time chasing my kids around with a normal job. Getting a normal job like everyone else.
“Of course, making money and then, yeah, I made a lot of mistakes; hasn’t everyone else? But the thing is, did they pay the right amount of money that they’re supposed to pay? No, they didn’t. Did they cheat people along the way? Yes, they did. So why am I the only one that’s sitting here after what’s happened with this Lesnar case years and years later trying to fight this battle, and these guys are in the wrong clearly?”