Mixed Martial Arts: Kiwi fighter Mark Hunt ordered to pay more than NZ$567,000 to UFC

Mark Hunt.
Mark Hunt. Photo credit: Getty Images

Kiwi mixed martial arts fighter Mark Hunt has been ordered to pay more than US$388,000 (NZ$567,000) in legal fees and costs to the UFC.

A Nevada court judgment, dated March 25, 2021 has just been published, presenting another barrier in his ongoing doping lawsuit.

Hunt filed the suit against the UFC, after losing his 2016 fight with Brock Lesnar at UFC 200. The fight was later ruled a no-contest, after Lesnar received exemptions from standard USADA testing protocol to compete at the event and was found to have tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs before the bout.

Hunt alleged the UFC manipulated its own drug-testing requirements to allow Lesnar to fight him while using drugs. He filed a lawsuit claiming fraud, unjust enrichment, breach of contract, battery, and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

After these were dismissed by a district court, Hunt secured a legal victory, when a higher court reversed some of that decision, allowing his lawsuit's claims of fraud and battery to go back to the district court.

But since the majority of his claims were dismissed, UFC has sought to recover legal fees from Hunt under a clause in his contract allowing the "prevailing party" to recover "its attorneys' fees and costs".

Hunt conceded that the UFC may seek attorneys' fees and costs for defending itself, but argued the decision to seek costs should be delayed, due to his ongoing appeal.

A judge disagreed, writing in a just-released decision: "I find that the efficient disposition of this matter is best served by my resolution of UFC's fee motion, so I deny Hunt's request to defer ruling on UFC's motion until after appeal."

Hunt has been ordered to pay US$301,792.50 in attorneys' fees and US$86,442.72 in costs, for a total of US$388,235.22 (NZ$567,429.84).