March 27, 2017
A day after Brock Lesnar was officially served the lawsuit filed by Mark Hunt, his attorneys have filed a Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit. Howard Jacobs, the California attorney specializing in drug testing and represented Lesnar in his case against USADA, is also representing him in this lawsuit.
Lesnar has joined the UFC and Dana White’s Motion to Dismiss which was filed last month and provided its own briefing specific to Lesnar’s case. The first matter Lesnar’s motion argued was that Hunt’s RICO violations were not sufficient to stand against Lesnar.
Specifically, it joins the UFC/White’s argument regarding the perceived missteps by Hunt in stating that he lacks “standing” – essentially the legal right, to pursue a Civil RICO Claim. Here, Lesnar highlights that Hunt’s damages are speculative at best. He also identifies that Hunt does not show the requisite steps needed to uphold a Civil RICO claim. Essentially, there is no “pattern of racketeering activity” by an “enterprise.”
Lesnar’s attorneys state that Hunt’s claim is “so incredibly deficient” as to the WWE superstar that “it is difficult to know where to event begin.”
The motion argues that Hunt’s complaint as to the RICO violation does not show an existence of a RICO conspiracy. Basically, Lesnar contends that you cannot simply allege a conspiracy violating the RICO statute just because there are multiple allegations.
— Jason Cruz (@dilletaunt) March 27, 2017
Lesnar’s Motion to Dismiss was obviously premeditated prior to service on the WWE sports entertainer. The motion details the deficiencies that may likely halt the lawsuit before it begins with respect to the Civil RICO claims. The motion identifies for the court the issues it has with claiming that there was a conspiracy set forth by the UFC, White and to his extent, Lesnar. If nothing else, we might see the court dismissing the Civil RICO claim as to Lesnar. MMA Payout will have more on this. Stay tuned.
March 26, 2017
We’re back: Gift and Nash of Bloody Elbow and yours truly discussing Mayweather-McGregor, Bellator, WME-IMG, Hunt-UFC and I get mad at a judge.
March 23, 2017
Brock Lesnar has been personally served in the Mark Hunt lawsuit according to court papers filed today. The UFC heavyweight filed the lawsuit in January in Nevada.
Earlier this week, Hunt’s attorneys filed its opposition brief in the UFC and Dana White’s Motion to Dismiss. Lesnar had not yet been served according to a footnote in the brief. The attorneys for Hunt had been working to serve Lesnar but had been unsuccessful.
— Jason Cruz (@dilletaunt) March 23, 2017
Since Lesnar is a Canadian citizen and he was unwilling to accept service voluntarily, Hunt had to serve him pursuant to the protocol of the Hague convention. While this might sound daunting, it shouldn’t be.
One would have to think that Lesnar join the Motion to Dismiss brought by the UFC and White. Although this Lesnar’s claims differ from the UFC and White, expect the current WWE star’s attorney to proclaim the lawsuit as without merit. MMA Payout will have more on this in the coming weeks.
March 22, 2017
A footnote to the opposition brief notes that Brock Lesnar has not accepted service of the lawsuit since he resides in Saskatchewan, Canada and will not accept service.
— Jason Cruz (@dilletaunt) March 23, 2017
Taking issue with the UFC’s characterization that Hunt’s lawsuit is speculative at best, Hunt’s attorneys state that the New Zealand heavyweight has actual damages despite the fact that this is not the standard for dismissal in a Motion to Dismiss. Hunt’s attorneys aregue that the UFC and Dana White are seeking Hunt to prove his claims at this stage of the lawsuit but the standard for a Motion to Dismiss and Motion for Summary Judgment differ.
Among the issues of note in the lengthy response, Hunt’s attorneys note that he is the owner of a clothing brand, Juggernaut, and his loss impacts his brand. The opposition brief plainly states that losing is bad for business as despite the UFC’s assertions that Hunt’s damages are merely speculative, Hunt’s claims are real.
— Jason Cruz (@dilletaunt) March 23, 2017
As another example, Hunt claims that his contract with the UFC has a clause which grants a step up in pay from $850,000 to $1,000,000 in title fights. Although his contract is lodged as an exhibit to his Complaint, that part of the lawsuit is sealed from the public’s view.
— Jason Cruz (@dilletaunt) March 23, 2017
In its conclusion, Hunt’s attorneys request that if a the Court finds in favor of the UFC and White that it have a right to amend its Complaint which may be done pursuant to the court rules.
The hearing is set for May 15, 2017.
The opposition goes on to debunk the arguments made by the UFC in its brief. Reading the section on Hunt’s contract claims, its hard to decipher whether that clause in his contract is based on title fights in which he is a challenger or if he becomes a champion. Due to its vagueness, it might be the latter. As for his claim that his brand would be diminished, this may be true. It also might not be true. However, as Hunt’s attorneys point out the allegation is concrete enough to survive a Motion to Dismiss. After discovery, and a Motion for Summary Judgment, that might not be the case. MMA Payout will keep you posted.
March 11, 2017
As Vitor Belfort heads into the Octagon to face Kelvin Gastelum on Saturday, we take a look at one of the issues brought up in Mark Hunt’s lawsuit: the UFC had information regarding Belfort’s testosterone levels prior to UFC 152.
As we know, Hunt filed a lawsuit against the UFC, Dana White and Brock Lesnar with a variety of legal claims. Among them was a claim for violation under the civil RICO statute which carries with it treble damages (3x actual damages) if proven at trial.
In his Complaint, Hunt points out that at UFC 152, Zuffa allegedly “willfully concealed” Belfort’s TRT use exemption and that Zuffa allowed him to fight at UFC 152 despite prior knowledge that he had elevated testosterone levels.
In its Motion to Dismiss Mark Hunt’s Complaint, Zuffa addressed the issue of Vitor Belfort’s retroactive TUE use ahead of his fight against Jon Jones in 2012.
The revelation of Belfort’s high testosterone levels was due in part to an inadvertent e-mail blast from a UFC paralegal.
Under federal RICO claims, the e-mail communications constitute acts of wire fraud under 18 U.S.C. sec 1343. The wire component is an inextricable part of the civil RICO claim.
In addition to the use of emails, Hunt’s attorneys argue that Lesnar’s ESPN appearance with Hannah Storm on June 6, 2016 and also promotions via the internet and television promoting UFC 200 satisfy the wire fraud component of 18 U.S.C. 1343.
Hunt claims that when the UFC allowed Belfort to fight it was in violation of state and federal laws. Similarly, he claims that his UFC 200 bout with Brock Lesnar was in violation of state and federal laws when it allowed Lesnar to compete against Hunt when it “caused or willfully permitted a doping fighter to compete against HUNT.” They also cite to Hunt’s fights with Antonio Silva and Frank Mir when both failed post-fight drug tests for banned substances.
According to Hunt’s lawsuit, the conduct represented a “pattern of liberally granting purported use exemptions and other drug testing exemptions, without any additional safeguards to prevent abuse.”
In the UFC’s response to the Belfort claims, it argues that the email has nothing to do with Hunt’s current claim for damages. Since Hunt was not one of the unintended recipients to the emails, nor did he see it at the time or rely on the emails. The UFC argues that the communications stemming from Belfort in September 2012 at UFC 152 has nothing to do with Hunt citing he had “zero involvement.” Thus, it argues that there is no proximate cause to Hunt’s claimed injuries. Moreover, the UFC argues that the ESPN interview and similar communications were not intended for Hunt, nor did he rely on them to his detriment. Essentially, UFC frames the communications as “random” and did not “directly cause” Hunt’s alleged personal injuries or lost opportunities.
Hunt argues that the Belfort incident is a part of the pattern of conduct which jeopardize fighter health and safety for the UFC’s profit and shall satisfy the claims under RICO.
Hunt’s attorney citing and re-telling of the Belfort test and the UFC erroneous email is likely a jab at the company to embarrass and color its reputation. It does create the backdrop for which Hunt brings his lawsuit. It’s undeniable that Hunt’s last 3 fights have taken PEDs. It is also clear that Hunt had nothing to do with the Belfort issue at UFC 152. But, it is not certain whether the incident involving Belfort will be taken as a part of a pattern of conduct by the Court.
Here, the UFC is seeking to dislodge Hunt’s grasp of his RICO claim on the procedural component that Hunt is not directly engaged in these communications, a requisite for his RICO claim. Thus, the underlying legalities of Belfort’s exemption does not matter, nor does the UFC want to have to explain the situation.
From Hunt’s perspective, they will likely argue that the Belfort situation creates a pattern of conduct that allows fighters using PEDs to fight clean fighters. This does seem like a hard argument to make but we will see how Hunt’s legal team responds.
March 1, 2017
Zuffa, LLC and Dana White have filed a Motion to Dismiss Mark Hunt’s lawsuit filed in Nevada.
Brock Lesnar, also a defendant, has yet to respond to Hunt’s lawsuit.
This past January, Hunt filed a lawsuit citing multiple causes of action including federal RICO charges as well as state charges of negligence and fraud.
You may recall that the parties had agreed to allow Zuffa to file a response until February 28th instead of in early February as originally required by law. Thus, it gave Zuffa extra time to file this Motion to Dismiss.
In its Motion to Dismiss, Zuffa claims that Hunt has no standing to prove a RICO claim. It notes that Hunt does not point to specifics which would satisfy the requirements.
It comes out swinging taking issue with the organization of Hunt’s lawsuit:
— Jason Cruz (@dilletaunt) March 1, 2017
Moreover, Zuffa claims that Hunt’s alleged injuries are subjective. For example, Zuffa claims Hunt’s claims of lost opportunities from losing to Brock Lesnar at UFC 200 are speculative. This is against RICO laws per cases cited by Zuffa. Notably, Hunt does not point to a specific title fight, promotional opportunity or marketing opportunity lost which could be linked to his loss to Lesnar.
Zuffa attaches Hunt’s 2016 Promotion Agreement to the motion but it is filed under seal so the public cannot access it.
Interesting enough, Zuffa points out that the Promotional Agreement does not impose a contractual obligation “to provide Hunt with clean opponents.” Zuffa argues that it is impossible for Zuffa to control any fighter from taking banned substances.
Hunt’s claim for personal injuries are barred argues Zuffa due to his express assumption of the risk contained in his fight contract. Essentially, Hunt knew of the risks going into the fight and it absolves Zuffa from liability.
Under a Motion to Dismiss standard (FRCP 12(b)(6)), a plaintiff must allege facts that, if taken as true, demonstrate “a plausible entitlement to relief.”
MMA Payout will have more on this as Hunt’s lawyers will need to respond. From the looks of the lawsuit, Zuffa makes strong arguments as to why the lawsuit should be dismissed. Some interesting things to note. Brock Lesnar has not filed a response as the motion is only for defendants Dana White and Zuffa, LLC. Lesnar needs to respond or Hunt could move for a default. One has to wonder if the parties have carved out some sort of an agreement with respect to Lesnar. Zuffa makes its strongest case with respect to the RICO claims. This might mean that it wants the federal claims kicked so they can move it to state court in Clark County. Finally, with the issue with USADA and the waiver, why hasn’t it been dragged into the lawsuit?
MMA Payout will continue to monitor.
February 14, 2017
Brock Lesnar has retired from the UFC according to multiple reports and first reported at MMA Fighting. Lesnar notified the company on Tuesday.
Lesnar was serving a 1 year suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission and USADA. If he returns to MMA, he will have to serve the rest of the suspension.
The suspension was issued after Lesnar settled with the NSAC and USADA issued a 1 year suspension for failing an out-of-competition test and an in-competition test for UFC 200 this past July.
In addition to the suspension, he was fined $250,000 which is 10% of his reported $2.5 million purse for his win over Mark Hunt. Currently, Hunt has filed a lawsuit against Lesnar, Dana White and the UFC.
Lesnar is scheduled to appear at Wrestlemania on April 2nd.
With Lesnar retiring for the second time (his first was after his loss to Cain Velasquez after UFC 121) in the UFC, it means that he will no longer be tested by USADA and included in the UFC Anti-Doping Program. We shall see if Lesnar will decide to return but if he does its likely he will be tested heavily by USADA and given no waiver.
February 13, 2017
The U.S. Magistrate in the Hunt v. Zuffa, LLC, et al. case has granted Mark Hunt’s request to seal documents in his lawsuit. The ruling means that the general public will not be able to view certain documents.
The purpose of the seal according to plaintiff as noted in the order was to “allow him [Hunt] to proceed with this action while not violating the confidentiality agreement.”
When Hunt filed his lawsuit, certain exhibits attached were not included as he was requesting to file them under seal. He claims that he signed a confidentiality agreement and filing the documents without a request to seal might be a violation of the agreement.
What the order means is that the public will not be able to see certain contracts Hunt entered into with Zuffa, LLC. This is unfortunate for the public as it would show what type of contract Hunt signed to fight Lesnar as well as other agreements he had with the company.
February 6, 2017
We will have to wait until the end of the month to see the response the UFC and Dana White will provide to Mark Hunt’s lawsuit. The parties agreed to extend the time for the UFC and White to respond according to a legal filing on Friday.
According to the stipulation, the UFC and White will provide a joint response to the lawsuit filed by Hunt last month. The UFC Heavyweight sued the company, White and Brock Lesnar as it relates to his fight at UFC 200 this past July. Among the claims, filed in federal court in Nevada, breach of contract, RICO violations and negligence.
The stipulation is below. The UFC and White has until February 28, 2017 to provide a response.
The stipulation notes that White had yet to be personally served (a requisite in lawsuits), but will accept service based on his attorneys receiving the lawsuit. It also notes that the UFC and White will share one response. This means that Lesnar will need his own attorneys and has yet to respond.
The stipulation only applies to the UFC and White which means that Lesnar has until tomorrow to respond if he was personally served the lawsuit. Lesnar could seek an extension to respond as well. Note, the term “respond” as the UFC and White may file a Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit. The rules state that they can do this prior to filing an Answer. You can expect this to happen and the extension of time may provide them more time to do this. In the alternative, the extra time may mean they want to either negotiate with Hunt and/or file a response with counterclaims.
January 10, 2017
UFC Heavyweight Mark Hunt has filed a lawsuit against the UFC, Dana White and Brock Lesnar in the District Court of Nevada on Tuesday. The lawsuit stems from Hunt’s fight against Lesnar at UFC 200.
Hunt is claiming violations of the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act, Conspiracy to Commit Racketeering, Fraud, False Pretenses, Breach of Contract, Breach of Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Duty, Negligence and Unjust Enrichment.
The premise of the complaint is that the UFC allowed Lesnar to fight at UFC 200 while providing the WWE wrestler with an exemption from the UFC’s anti-doping policy.
Lesnar tested positive for a banned substance in both an out-of-competition and in-competition drug test.
Lesnar defeated Hunt via unanimous decision at UFC 200 this past July.
The Complaint makes reference to UFC 152 when Vitor Belfort was allowed to fight with a testosterone use exemption but without disclosing the information to the public or his opponent Jon Jones.
In the lawsuit is embedded a photo of Lesnar pummeling Hunt.
In Hunt v. Zuffa, LLC, et al., complaint embeds a pic with the caption, “Doping Lesnar Fights Hunt, a clean competitor, at UFC 200.” pic.twitter.com/Q4HCcUAIvc
— Jason Cruz (@dilletaunt) January 11, 2017
Of the notable items in the Complaint, Hunt claims RICO violations against the UFC which carry treble (3 times) damages.
He also claims personal injuries which include damage to reputation, loss of opportunity of career advancement and further earning potential.
Hunt has intimated that he may take legal action and he did. The timing comes after Lesnar was recently handed 1 year suspensions from USADA and the Nevada State Athletic Commission which meant that he could come back in July 2017.
RICO is a very specific statute that requires that a person must commit at least two acts of racketeering activity from a set of crimes within a specific time frame and are related to an enterprise. This will be interesting for Hunt to prove and would make discovery as interesting as the current antitrust lawsuit filed by former fighters.
Hunt is scheduled to fight in March 2017 which makes this lawsuit all the more interesting.
MMA Payout will keep you posted.