01 Jan Mark Hunt scoffs at ‘Fight Island’: ‘Who gives a f*ck?’
Former UFC heavyweight Mark Hunt takes a dim view of his former promoter’s plans to restart its schedule in May and lodge fighters on “Fight Island.”
The only octagon action Hunt is keeping tabs on these days is an appeal of the federal lawsuit against the promoter that he said “wasn’t done properly.” And short of a complete 180-degree turn in the way the industry leader does business, his assessment of the UFC is “a garbage company.”
“All [fans are] doing is paying for them to get richer and richer, and all these fighters are getting screwed,” Hunt told MMA Fighting. “So I don’t support them at all. I don’t care what they’re doing. … Promoting some fights on an island, who gives a f*ck? They allow these cheaters to get by, and it’s just business.
“[UFC fighters aren’t] even employees. They’re contractors. They share four percent of the revenue, so why would you support that? The fighters aren’t getting the benefits. I think it’s a joke.”
Hunt’s lawsuit was dismissed this past November after the majority of its claims were struck down. He brought on additional counsel and recently filed a brief for an appellate court to review his case, which centers around his ill-fated meeting with Brock Lesnar at UFC 200. He alleges the promotion conspired to cheat him out of a fair fight when Lesnar was given an exemption from drug testing and later came up positive for a banned substance. He also alleges he lost out on future opportunities as a result of a decision loss to the WWE star and ex-UFC champ.
UFC parent Zuffa requested Hunt pay back $388,000 in legal fees after its win in court. This past December, it asked for a default ruling in its favor after Hunt failed to contest the motion.
Earlier this month, Hunt told Duello Channel that he planned another lawsuit against the promoter. He declined comment on the suit; his attorney Brian W. Boschee, who joined Hunt’s original attorney Christina Denning on the appeal, told MMA Fighting they discussed the possibility of suing the UFC for allegedly trying to force him to fight Alistair Overeem at UFC 209.
Hunt said he’s joined on to the ongoing antitrust litigation against the UFC and is waiting for the judge to decide whether the fighters will receive the class certification they need to move forward on anticompetitive claims against the promotion.
In the meantime, Hunt said he’s spending more time with his family and helping out where he can with teammates, who like him have been forced to pause their normal schedules during the coronavirus pandemic.
Asked about the UFC’s scheduled fights during the public health crisis, the 46-year-old New Zealander said it was no surprise that the promotion is moving forward despite the potential risks.
“Look why they’re there,” he said. “They let juiced-up cheaters fight against guys who don’t cheat, and they don’t give a sh*t if they die or not.
“Look how they treat the fighters. You think the UFC actually cares about the fighters or the people who watch? Look what they did with Jon Jones. They moved his show in one week from Las Vegas to California. They took all the fans that paid to go there to go f*ck themselves on Christmas. And all the fighters who fought on the card lost 10 percent of their purse? You think the UFC cares about people? They don’t give a shit. People need to actually see what they’re really doing.”
Although Hunt previously mentioned a return to competition in the boxing ring, he said his tenure with the UFC “took away my love for fighting,” and he’s in no rush to return to combat sports.
“The time right now is quite strange for everybody, but I’m actually quite happy I can speak freely about everything, instead of trying to hold my tongue about it,” he said.
Hunt said he would consider his appeal a victory if he was able to get the UFC to follow its own anti-doping rules. He said he never “premeditated” a long legal slog against the industry leader, which initially brought him on for a single fight when it acquired PRIDE in 2007.
“I just tried to do my job, and I’m tired of getting screwed by the company,” he said. “People say, ‘Well, maybe you should have won more fights.’ Well, maybe they shouldn’t have allowed these cheaters to get away with it all the time and gotten no punishment. The punishment they’re getting for cheating is nothing. I don’t even think that d*ckhead Lesnar has paid his fine yet.”