Zuffa and Dana White file opposition to Mark Hunt’s inclusion of Fight Night Removal in his complaint

January 3, 2018

Zuffa and Dana White have responded to Mark Hunt’s Motion to Supplement his First Amended Complaint and request the court deny the motion.  While the rule is liberal for parties to amend and supplement pleadings, Zuffa and White argue that Hunt’s supplementation of information here would be “futile.”

Hunt filed the motion so that it may include factual information related to his claim that he was unfairly taken off of UFC Fight Night 121.  The UFC and White argue that there was no choice but to remove him from the card due to his op-ed piece claiming physical maladies suffered from years of fighting.  “Faced with such concerning statements from a fighter about his neurological health, Zuffa had no choice but to pull Hunt from the upcoming fight card until it could assure itself, athletic commission regulators, and the public that Hunt was, in fact, medically fit to fight.”

Zuffa and the UFC claim that the new allegations from Hunt have nothing to add to his claims.  Defendants, as you might expect, believe that the claims are defective and supplementing it with more facts would not add or bolster the claim.

Despite filing the lawsuit, the UFC brings up that Hunt has been paid “more than $1.5 million” for competing in two bouts.  Thus, the inference that there is no correlation between the suit and being taken off of the scheduled bout.  Specifically, it has nothing to add to the RICO claims.  “Hunt’s new allegations about being wrongfully removed from UFC Fight Night 121 are not even premised on his underlying RICO allegations that Zuffa had engaged in a pattern and scheme to allow doping fighters to compete against clean fighters.   They [the proposed supplemental facts] are, instead, premised on the entirely new theory that Zuffa retaliated against him for having filed the instant lawsuit.”

The UFC also argues that the Breach of Contract would not be impacted as the Promotional Agreement limits the type of damages that are recoverable.  Even though Hunt claims $100,000 in damages for his training camp.

   UFC Opposition to Motion to Supplement by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Payout Perspective:

Brock Lesnar’s attorney has not filed an opposition or joined (meaning Lesnar can just add their name to the motion) this one.  The opposition is artfully pled and poses very good arguments but its unlikely that the court will deny Hunt’s motion to supplement its First Amended Complaint.  While there are cases that will support the argument for denying supplemental facts, the amending and supplementing of pleadings are liberal to ensure that the litigation of the case is complete.  It also prevents unnecessary appeals.  Moreover, the court knows that defendants will get another shot at dismissing the supplementation of information in the First Amended Complaint when it files its Motion to Dismiss (or at the summary judgment stage if it is not defeated initially).  MMA Payout will keep you posted.

MPO Year in Review: No. 5 Mark Hunt sues the UFC, Dana White and Brock Lesnar

December 29, 2017

In January, Mark Hunt filed a lawsuit against Zuffa, Dana White and Brock Lesnar from his loss at UFC 200 to the returning WWE star and subsequent revelation that Lesnar tested positive for a banned substance on the UFC anti-doping policy.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Nevada, was unique as it included allegations of civil violations of the RICO Act as well as a claim for negligence and breach of contract.  In most instances, a plaintiff cannot claim both tort damages and from those arising for a contract.  Here, Hunt was claiming because the UFC allowed Lesnar to fight with the knowledge that he may have been taking steroids, any injury arising from the fight should be treated as a personal injury.

Serving Lesnar the lawsuit, a requisite in civil litigation, was a difficult task and he was not served until March.  Howard Jacobs represents Lesnar in this lawsuit.

In May, the Court heard the defendants’ Motion to Dismiss.  We took a deep dive into the hearing as the transcript was made available to the public.  The Court allowed the lawsuit to stand but left it open for the plaintiffs to file an amended complaint as it highlighted at the hearing, that certain claims such as the RICO claims were speculative.

Yet, in Hunt’s First Amended Complaint, he included the RICO cause of action.  As with the first Complaint, The Defendant’s filed another Motion to Dismiss, this time, to dismiss the First Amended Complaint.

The Defendants had hoped that they could stay discovery pending the result from the Court of the Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint.  However, the Court has ordered that discovery may commence related to all of Hunt’s claims except his RICO allegations.

The plot to this lawsuit continued as Hunt fought for the company he was suing in March of this year.  He lost via KO at UFC 209 to Alistair Overeem.  This past fall, he made more news when he wrote an article for a web site where he admitted memory loss and slurring his words.  The UFC took Hunt off the UFC Fight Night 121 card in November when it learned of the article.  This incensed Hunt but White stood his ground in citing that he needed to be checked out to be cleared to fight.

Hunt recently requested that he supplement his First Amended Complaint to include facts about how he believes he was unjustly taken off of UFC Fight Night 121 in Australia.  Likely, the UFC will deny allegations of wrongdoing and will cite taking him off the card as a precautionary measure and they were willing to have him checked out to ensure he was healthy enough to fight.

This is a unique lawsuit that has not trial date and thus the ending is open.  The curious thing is that Hunt remains a fighter for the company and one of the highest paid non-champions on the roster.  It will be interesting to see what information might be pulled from discovery that would put the UFC in a false light but I am sure that what items might be pulled will yield to a settlement between the parties.  If not, we could be heading toward a very contentious court battle.

Hunt lawyers seek to include facts about UFC pulling him from Fight Night 121 in lawsuit

December 18, 2017

On Friday, Mark Hunt’s lawyer filed a motion to supplement its First Amended Complaint according to court papers.  The supplemented information appears to include his “unilateral removal (for pretextual reasons) from UFC’s November 2017 “UFC Fight Night 121” card.  Hunt claim’s he “incurred in excess of $100,000.00 in damages for the cost of his pre-fight training camp and related expenses, in addition to the lost fight purse.”

Hunt is requesting the supplement to add factual allegations supporting existing claims.  The supplementation may give rise to further legal wranglings from Zuffa, Dana Whtie and Brock Lesnar since the three have motions to dismiss Hunt’s First Amended Complaint.  Essentially, the defendants may argue that supplementing the First Amended Complaint with additional factual content impacts the existing motion to dismiss which is pending Court decision.

The removal from the recent Fight Night is the result of Hunt’s article in an Australian web site that he had memory loss and slurred speech related to fighting.  After the article was released, the UFC took him off of UFC Fight Night 121 in Australia due to concerns about his health.  The UFC indicated that Hunt could be checked out at the Lou Ruvo Brain Center but Hunt refused according to Dana White.  Hunt stated that he had the tests done in Sydney instead of Las Vegas where the brain center is located.  According to Hunt, the tests were negative.

Mark Hunt’s Motion to Supplement First Amended Complaint by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Proposed Supplemental First Amended Complaint by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

 

Payout Perspective:

The supplemented information to his First Amended Complaint is a procedural matter which Zuffa has the opportunity to object to the supplemented complaint.  The additional information that Hunt would like included in his First Amended Complaint would bolster the alleged claim under the RICO Act since one of the requisites deals with a scheme over interstate lines via “wire, radio or television.”  If the Court allows the supplemental information, you’d expect Zuffa to argue that it has to retool its Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint to address the new facts.  MMA Payout will keep you posted.

Court allows discovery to continue in part in Mark Hunt lawsuit

December 6, 2017

The Court in the Mark Hunt lawsuit has ordered that discover to continue with respect to all claims except for his RICO claims in his First Amended Complaint until the determination of the Motion to Dismiss filed by Zuffa/Dana White and Brock Lesnar.

The 3-page ruling indicated that discovery (requests for documents and answering of questions) related to Hunt’s RICO claims against the UFC and White.  However, the other claims including breach of contract and battery (for Brock Lesnar) may proceed forward.

Order on Motion to Stay Discovery in part in Hunt case by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

The Court notes the changes made from the original Complaint from the First Amended Complaint including changes in the breach of contract claim and the battery claim.  According to the case law cited by the Court, it may stay discovery from a “preliminary peek,” initially a cursory scan of the Motion to Dismiss to determine whether it might win on the merits and dismiss the need for discovery.

The Court was not convinced from its “preliminary peek” at the motion to dismiss that it will certainly be granted for all claims.

Payout Perspective:

If you think the peek is awkward because it provides foresight into a potential outcome of the actual motion, you are not alone.  However, this is the legal authority that is followed.  A minor win for Hunt as this might precipitate a settlement between the parties so that the UFC will not have to spend money on discovery.  Yet, the Court may decide the Motion to Dismiss at any point.  One might suspect that since the Order was issued for the stay in December for a motion to stay that took place in July, it may take more time for the Court to decide the Motion to Dismiss.

White responds to Hunt’s comments after taken off of Sydney card

October 30, 2017

Dana White responded to Mark Hunt’s comments after he was taken off the Sydney card next month.  In a letter to the Daily Telegraph he claims to have offered to fly Hunt to Las Vegas to get checked out.

Hunt was taken off of the UFC Fight Night 121 card after an article he wrote detailed issues with sleep and memory related to his career of fighting.

A portion of the letter reads:

My team contacted his [Hunt’s] management within the first week of learning about these symptoms and offered to fly him to Las Vegas first class to visit the Lou Ruvo Brain Center — which is the best in the world for brain research — to get more tests done. And you know what? He absolutely refused.

White went on to explain that he could not have him in the Octagon with knowledge that Hunt had health issues.  He noted that Hunt had yet to be cleared to fight on the Sydney card.

Payout Perspective:

The UFC really had no option here especially with athlete head injuries being in the news.  White’s response makes sense and if it is true that Hunt turned down the opportunity to get checked out, then it makes Hunt look bad.  Of course, the two sides are currently in a lawsuit where physical injuries are still being claimed so perhaps Hunt’s attorneys do not want him to avail to a medical examination at this point.  What will be interesting will be how all of this will factor in the pending lawsuit between Hunt, the UFC, Brock Lesnar and Dana White.

Hunt’s attorneys file opposition to dismissing his First Amended Complaint against UFC, White and Lesnar

July 19, 2017

Attorneys for Mark Hunt have filed their opposition brief to Zuffa, Dana White and Brock Lesnar’s Motion to Dismiss his First Amended Complaint.  In the brief, they cite specific instances in which they addressed the court’s concerns regarding their allegations.

The brief specifically claims that it has provided adequate information on damages and a proximate cause to go forward with its Civil RICO claim.

Plaintiffs Opposition to MTD FAC by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Hunt addresses the court’s concerns with respect to the Civil RICO claim alleged by Hunt.  They rely on a case, Mendoza vs. Zirkle Fruit, Co., in which the defendants in that case sought to manipulate the work force by hiring undocumented laborers to depress wages of documented workers.  In this case, Hunt’s lawyers argue that the UFC and White wrongfully manipulated the market to depress wages of clean fighters by hiring doping fighters.

They also cite the Mendoza case to dispel the Defendants’ argument that there could be other plausible proximate causation for Hunt’s alleged damages.  They claim Mendoza did not dismiss the plaintiffs’ civil RICO claims although there were alternative theories to the damages from the plaintiffs.  Thus, as Hunt relies on Mendoza, the Court cannot dismiss Hunt’s civil RICO claim solely because there are alternative or intervening causes for Hunt’s financial losses.

Also in his brief, regarding his Breach of Contract claim, Hunt argues the clause in the New Zealander’s contract which states that Zuffa shall be bound by the rules and regulations of the Athletic Commission was breached.  In the first hearing on dismissing the original complaint, the Court questioned what specific part of the contract Hunt alleged was breach as it was not clear to the Court from the original complaint.

 

Payout Perspective:

We detailed the Court hearing and how the Judge was skeptical about Hunt’s claims.  We shall see if the arguments supplied in this Opposition Brief persuades the Court that the First Amended Complaint has changed.  In this brief, Hunt argues that it should be entitled to a shot at discovery, which is being challenged in a different motion.  It also requests another shot at amending the complaint if the Court determines the allegations are not sufficient.  We shall see how that goes.  .

 

 

Hunt’s attorneys oppose Lesnar motion to stay discovery

July 18, 2017

Mark Hunt’s legal counsel has filed an opposition for Motion to Stay Discovery against Defendant Brock Lesnar.

Lesnar’s counsel has requested a stay of discovery pending their Motion to Dismiss of Hunt’s First Amended Complaint.  The UFC and Dana White have filed a similar Motion to Stay Discovery which would prohibit the exchange of information between parties until the Court rules on the Motions to Dismiss Hunt’s First Amended Complaint.

Hunt’s attorneys argue that they should be allowed to conduct non-RICO discovery which centers around UFC 200 as a compromise to Lesnar.  They point out that 2 of the 7 claims against Lesnar relate to RICO and the other claims do not.  Hence, Hunt should be given the opportunity to investigate his case against Lesnar.  They also claim that Lesnar’s attorneys have not complied with the rule in which the parties are to “meet and confer” in trying to resolve discovery disputes.

Of course, Lesnar opposes this due to the time and expense involved in conducting discovery.  According to Hunt’s attorney, they declined the opportunity to provide initial disclosures and limited fact-discovery of non-RICO claims.  Instead, they informed Hunt that they would file a motion to stay discovery.

Payout Perspective:

From Lesnar’s perspective, it makes sense to avoid the time and expense of providing discovery.  Since Lesnar is likely paying for the defense of the lawsuit himself, it might be an unnecessary cost if the Court decides to dismiss the case.  Yet, Hunt’s attorneys want to push their client’s case since they believe that there is a case and do not want to waste time.  They also appear, at least from a high level, accommodating in stating that they would hold off on RICO-related discovery.  Courts try not to get involved in discovery fights but it seems as though Lesnar’s attorneys want a ruling.  This could all be moot if the Court rules on the Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss Hunt’s First Amended Complaint.

Extension granted in Hunt Motion to Dismiss FAC

July 13, 2017

Mark Hunt lawyers received an extension in filing their opposition brief to the UFC, Dana White and Brock Lesnar’s Motion to Dismiss Hunt’s First Amended Complaint.

The original deadline to file an Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint was this past Monday, July 10th.

Stipulation to Extend Time to Respond to Complaint by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

According to the Stipulation agreed to by the parties and signed off by the Court, lead counsel for Hunt is going on a pre-planned vacation and another had just come back from a vacation and will be in deposition which will not allow them an opportunity to “prepare a meaningful and adequate response.”

If you haven’t checked it out, I took a look at the first hearing.

Payout Perspective:

The parties agreed to the one-week extension and the Court signed off on it.  While one might think that a vacation is not a valid excuse, Hunt’s attorneys previously stipulated to an extension.  Courts like for the parties to settle these things without judicial intervention.  Also, it is “civil” litigation.  It is frowned upon when there are known dates such as pre-planned vacations and/or holidays and parties file motions with the intent that it annoys the opposing so as to work during these times.  While its understood that deadlines are not always extended, the parties were able to work this one out.

Taking a look at the Motion to Dismiss hearing in the Mark Hunt lawsuit

July 12, 2017

It’s not often that you get the transcript from a court hearing for free (relatively speaking).  But Brock Lesnar’s attorneys have attached the entire hearing from the parties’ Motion to Dismiss on May 22, 2017 as an exhibit to its current Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint of Mark Hunt.  MMA Payout takes a deep dive into the hearing.

Transcript Exhibt a to Lesnar’s MTD by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

There were three parties present.  Howard Jacobs, representing Brock Lesnar, J. Colby Williams and Donald Jude Campbell on behalf of Zuffa, LLC and Dana White and Scott Ingold and Joseph Gonnella on behalf of Mark Hunt.  Jacobs, Williams and Ingold were the attorneys that argued the motion before the Honorable Jennifer A. Dorsey.

The Court complimented the parties on how well-briefed the parties were in arguing the Motion to Dismiss.  As such, he made the introductory note that he had read all of the cases cited by both parties and thus did not need a rehash of the cases.  In my experience, this is helpful and shows the court’s competence.  Also for judicial efficiency, he does not want a party to go too deep into the cases they cite by bringing up the underlying facts in that case unless its central to the point of the parties.

I will let everyone know, first of all, I have read every word of all of the very nicely prepared briefs. I want to thank all of you for the care and attention that went into those briefs. And, because I think everything was so well briefed, I definitely don’t need a reiteration of every argument and every point raised. I’ve spent a lot of time with these motions. I’ve read all of the cases that are cited in them. So I’m prepared to hear what else or what else you would like to stress.

The Court takes time asking questions of Hunt’s attorney about their tort-based claims as well as their theory for the RICO claim.  Defendants seem to have successfully pegged the RICO claim as one that circumvents the rationale behind the purpose of the claim and more of one where attorneys attempt to frame a RICO claim in order to triple their damage claim.  As such, there’s no standing for Hunt to assert his RICO claim.

Colby Williams:

Here, Mr. Hunt’s Complaint is a prime example of the overenthusiastic use of RICO and its specter of criminal wrongdoing to seek a financial windfall in the context of a routine commercial dispute. And, while RICO has unquestionably been stretched in scope and meaning beyond the organized crime context, certain guiding principles remain no matter what the subject matter is of the case.

The most fundamental of those requirements, Your Honor, we would submit, would be that a plaintiff has to have RICO standing under 18 U.S.C. 1964(c) and that’s a two-pronged inquiry. First prong, you’ve got to demonstrate a cognizable injury to a property or business interest. And, Your Honor, most respectfully to opposing counsel, that is not determined by trying to squeeze yourself into some other interest that has been found suitable for RICO injury in a prior case. The courts are unanimous when they tell us business and property interests are a categorical inquiry based on state law. The second inquiry that must be established for RICO standing is that there has to be proximate cause between the injurious conduct and the claimed injury. These are questions of law for the court; they are proper for determination at the 12(b)(6) stage; and, if a plaintiff fails to satisfy either prong, the RICO claim must be dismissed. We submit Mr. Hunt doesn’t satisfy either one.

Defendant’s stress the fact that personal injury and reputational harm are “simply not recoverable” under RICO.  Hunt’s alleged lost opportunities, according to the defendants, are future claims that are speculative and contingent which do not fall under a remedy under RICO.

Notably, the defendants wanted to make known that Hunt was still gamely contracted by the UFC and performing under the contract at issue.

Williams:

Mr. Hunt, on March 4th, fought Alistair Overeem. He references it in his opposition. He was paid $750,000 for that fight, Your Honor. More money than he made in the summer of 2016 at UFC 200 when he fought Mr. Lesnar. He hasn’t lost a single opportunity. He’s continuing to get fight opportunities. He’s making more money. There is no RICO injury here at all.

Jacobs, the attorney for Brock Lesnar, argued that the claims against Lesnar are baseless as they lack proximity.  The RICO claims, which are based on Hunt fighting Bigfoot Silva and Frank Mir do not apply to Lesnar argued Jacobs.  He claimed that Hunt cannot show that he relied on any omissions or misrepresentations from Lesnar which is a requisite for a fraud claim and the underlying actions for a RICO violation.  Jacobs argues the use of the ESPN interviews with Brock Lesnar and Dana White would defeat his own claim.

…I think, all of the causes of action. Certainly RICO, fraud, false pretenses — all of those claims require an allegation of reliance on the false representations. And so the plaintiff in his Complaint and then as supplemented by his opposition says that he relied on either Brock Lesnar’s alleged misrepresentation that he wasn’t doping or he relied on the material omission of the fact that he was doping. So those are the allegations. And there have to be damages pled which he has to show that he relied on these misrepresentations or omissions.

 … And what he [Hunt]wants to do here is have it both ways. He wants to use the interviews that Mr. Lesnar gave as part of his RICO claims and the predicate acts, but then he wants you to somehow find that his own statements, the very same types of interviews, where he said: I know that Brock Lesnar was doping and I don’t care. I’ll beat him anyway. He wants you to ignore those and you can’t because they show that the allegations here are false.

“He wants to use the interviews that Mr. Lesnar gave as part of his RICO claims and the predicate acts, but then he wants you to somehow find that his own statements, the very same types of interveies, where he [Hunt] said: I know that Brock Lesnar was doing and I don’t care.  I’ll beat him anyway.  He wants you [the Judge] to ignore those and you can’t because they show that the allegations here are false.”

Jacobs also attempts to extinguish Hunt’s purported theories for a RICO claim:

And the pattern of racketeering, it’s been alleged that it’s both an open-ended pattern and a closed-ended pattern. And I just wanted to address some of the statements that are made on both of them. On the closed-ended continuity, the claim seems to be that — at least in part because you have to go further back in time — that the prior retirements of Brock Lesnar somehow factor into this closed-ended continuity. There’s a couple problems with that. One, it has not been pled in the Complaint. Two, any allegation that Brock Lesnar’s prior retirements that predated 2015 is somehow being a pattern of activity because they were used to avoid drug testing under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, they have one significant problem and that is there was no UFC Anti-Doping Policy before 2015 and there’s also no allegation that Mark Hunt ever was in line to fight Brock Lesnar prior to 2015. So it’s — those allegations to establish closed-ended continuity simply are factually impossible in this case.

 As to open-ended continuity, it seems to be thatlooking forward, well, Brock Lesnar could unretire and again avoid testing at any time. Again, if you look at the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, specifically at Article 5.7 which we asked that judicial notice be taken of, it specifically says that if he unretires he — basically he has to serve his suspension from that point going forward. So, if he has 11 months left on his suspension, he has to be in the pool for 11 months if he unretires for testing. So this notion and these arguments that he could somehow step out of retirement and straight into the ring is also factually impossible.

Hunt’s attorney first brings up the fact that it is the burden of the moving party thus setting the landscape for his argument that despite possible omissions, the non-moving party (Hunt) would have deference for any vague or ambiguous facts.  He stresses based upon case law that Hunt need only set forth “plausible” facts for their claims.  Further, he need not provide specifics on damages.

He notes that the RICO claim is based on “an ongoing course and conduct by the enterprise and the parties that make the enterprise,” including Brock Lesnar.  He notes that reliance on fraud need not be alleged to make his RICO claim.

He addresses the Defendants’ issues with Hunt’s standing (re question of damages) and proximate cause.  He notes that Lesnar was allowed by the UFC through a “fraudulent agreement by the enterprise.”  He goes on to state that Defendants “defrauded Mr. Hunt when they did that.  They defrauded the Pay-Per-View subscribers. They defrauded many people who were paying or relying on the fact that Mark Hunt was going to get fight a fair fight.”

But the Court asked whether the allegations were “patently speculative” including whether Hunt would have beaten Brock Lesnar if he had fought clean.  The Judge also questions how a fighter that uses PEDs would be able to increase the value of the company based on Hunt’s allegations in the Complaint.  In fact, the Court seems to question the theory of case and alleged damages posed by Hunt.  The attorney for Hunt does not go into the problems only that it needs discovery to determine more detailed matters.

Yet, he seems to have a hard time with the questioning and focusing on the rationale of the RICO claim.

THE COURT: How is it — how can you — I guess the question may be ultimately is what facts have you alleged currently to demonstrate and how — as opposed to just conclusory allegations that these damages, these lost opportunities, are from the RICO activity and the racketeering activity and not merely from the fact that he got beat?

INGOLD: Well, Your Honor, the defendants seem to say, well, we would have to prove that but for the cheating by Mr. Lesnar, Mark Hunt would have won the fight.

THE COURT: But for the racketeering activity

INGOLD: Well, if — if the defendants had not, in our view, committed wire fraud; if they had said, we’re going to make Mr. Lesnar go through the same testing protocols; we’re going to hold him to the same standards as every other fighter, as Mr. Hunt in fact, then it would have likely turned up that Mr. Lesnar was cheating; he would have not been able to compete; they would have substituted another fighter. Even if Mr. Hunt would have fared better against a clean Lesnar, that would have helped his brand.

 THE COURT: How is all of what you’ve just described not patently speculative?

 INGOLD: Well, Your Honor, Mendoza says that we’re allowed to allege damages generally at the pleading stage.

Ingold goes on to analogize the issue of damages:

Your Honor, I would submit that if Michael Jordan never won a basketball game kids wouldn’t be buying Air Jordan sneakers from Nike for hundreds of dollars; that if Mike Tyson never won a boxing fight, people wouldn’t have paid hundreds of dollars in Pay-Per-View fees to see him fight.

The fact of the matter — and we put this in our brief — is that losing fights is bad for business.

The Court also questions why his claims for false pretenses is based upon a criminal standard rather than a civil one.  The Judge read it more like a fraud-in-the inducement claim and Hunt’s attorney could not really address why the False Pretenses claim was based on a Nevada criminal statute.  The Judge also questioned Mr. Ingold as to whether they were challenging the enforceability of the contract.  It was clear that Mr. Ingold did not want to argue that the contract was unenforceable or voidable.

The Court noted that if there was not a false pretense, it would impact his claim for unjust enrichment and other claims made by Hunt.  Basically, under Nevada law, could not claim damages covered by a contract and then have an unjust enrichment claim against the contracting party.  Mr. Ingold cited a case in which there could be more damages claimed outside the contract under unjust enrichment.

It was curious to note that Hunt is not alleging that his fight contract is unenforceable despite the fact that he claims that portions of the contract were breached.

Notably, the Campbell & Williams attorney, Colby Williams, started by quoting a case in which it attempts to frame its argument that RICO does not apply in this case.

“…Mr. Hunt’s Complaint is a prime example of the overenthusiastic use of RICO and its specter of criminal wrongdoing to seek a financial windfall in the context of a routine commercial dispute.”  Williams goes on to state that Hunt has failed to satisfy the two-prong test set out to claim that they can sue (“standing”) under the federal RICO statute.  First, you have to “demonstrate a cognizable injury to a property or business interest.  Second, the UFC brings up a fact that had not been brought up which actually helps their case here.  Jon Jones failed a USADA test and was not allowed to fight at UFC 200.  This factual distinction serves as circumstantial evidence that the UFC would not have allowed Lesnar to participate at UFC 200 if it had known that he was taking a banned substance, he would not have allowed him to fight at the event.  Thus, the plausibility of a conspiracy claim falls flat here.”

The Judge does side with Mr. Williams here in citing that the claim was “overenthusiastic” use of the civil statute.  He dismissed the cause of action with the right to amend which Hunt did.  However, the Court did warn that the threshold for a plausible civil RICO claim was high.  Whether or not Hunt met this hurdle will be determined in the upcoming Motion to Dismiss of the First Amended Complaint.

The primary problem found by the Judge was “the lack of demonstrated RICO standing.”  The Court did not buy a “specialized business personal injury” as asserted by Hunt regarding his loss opportunities and damage to his Juggernaut brand.  Personal injuries are not recognized under this statute.   He also could not infer proximate cause.  Essentially, the Judge could not determine that the claim that the UFC concealed exemptions “to cause clean fighters to fight doping fighters” caused Hunt’s injury.

Once again, I am curious as to why Hunt’s attorney did not include USADA in its Complaint for damages.  Certainly, there could be a level of liability on USADA, a third party (and nonparty in this lawsuit) that administers and enforces the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.  With the claims that Lesnar was allowed clearance to fight without proper drug testing, USADA could have been an entity to point the fighter.  Secondly, based on the argument and Hunt’s briefing, Juggernaut brand could have its own claims here.  As pointed out by Defendants, the company owned by Hunt should bring its own claim if it had one.

We shall see how Hunt’s attorneys respond and what they will argue to the Judge has changed (specifically the RICO claim) from the original complaint to the First Amended Complaint.

UFC, White and Lesnar seek dismissal of Hunt’s First Amended Complaint

June 28, 2017

The UFC, Dana White and Brock Lesnar have filed a Motion to Dismiss to Mark Hunt’s First Amended Complaint.  According to Lesnar’s Motion to Dismiss, all but one of Hunt’s original causes of action in his Complaint were dismissed with the Court allowing Hunt leave to amend.  The Defendants (collectively the UFC, White and Lesnar) have filed a Motion to Dismiss Hunt’s amended lawsuit.

Both motions liberally cite the transcript of the May 22nd hearing on their original Motion to Dismiss.

Zuffa Mtd Fac by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Bolstered by these comments Defendants continue to pick at Hunt’s RICO claim in the FAC which included more details about Hunt’s purported injuries:

Hunt has conjured up a veritable smorgasbord of alleged injuries in the hopes that one might qualify as the requisite concrete financial loss necessary to state a RICO claim. None do.

The argument is the old claim that a plaintiffs’ allegations do not match up with their claimed damages.  Here, Hunt’s claims that he lost out on sponsorship and appearance deals as well as lost profits from his own clothing brand are speculative at best and cannot be claimed here under a theory from his RICO allegations nor his tort-based (physical injury) causes of action.

Moreover, Zuffa claims that Hunt cannot show a logical correlation between what has happened in his case and the UFC. Zuffa states that Hunt cannot show the requisite proximate clause to state his RICO claim.

Zuffa cite a case which outlines the reason:

This means there must be “some direct relation between the injury asserted and the injurious conduct alleged. A link that is too remote, purely contingent, or indirect is insufficient.”

Defendants claim that Hunt’s claimed damages are too attenuated to be claimed to be a loss related to a civil RICO claim.

Finally, they also claim that Hunt cannot prove the underlying predicate offenses required of a civil RICO violation.

Lesnar’s Mtd Fac by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Lesnar’s Motion meticulously goes through each claim of Hunt but in more detail as it pertains to the current WWE performer.  Notably, Lesnar’s motion argues that Hunt had signed on to the bout with Lesnar and assumed the risk in signing on to fight Lesnar and therefore cannot argue damages as a result from his UFC 200 fight.

At the Court hearing, Howard Jacobs, Lesnar’s lawyer, stressed the fact that Hunt cannot prove damages for a civil RICO claim.  The distinguishing factor is that Hunt claims business and reputational damages.  These are not recognized damages under RICO claims the Defendants.  Moreover, Jacobs states that Hunt’s claim is a “prime example of overenthusiastic use of RICO…”

Reading throught the Court transcript, Hunt’s lawyer flails at the Court’s questioning of their RICO claims as well as whether or not Hunt was claiming that the bout agreement Hunt signed was invalid.  Hunt’s lawyer didn’t seem to know or did not want to admit that it was some type of strategy.

Payout Perspective:

The first three pages of Lesnar’s motion are instructive in a step-by-step analysis of the differences between Hunt’s original complaint and his First Amended Complaint.  While there are more facts provided in Hunt’s First Amended Complaint, the Defendants argue that the information provided by Plaintiffs do not help his claims.

Lesnar’s Motion to Dismiss attached the Court transcript from the May 22nd as an exhibit.  The Court complemented the parties on their briefing and due to time restraints allowed 10 minutes for each party to argue before the Court.  The Court grilled Hunt for about 15 minutes during the hearing about their Complaint.  To be honest, this could be bad news for Hunt.  Then again, it might be dependent on how the Court looks at the First Amended Complaint and this new Motion to Dismiss.

MMA Payout will have more on this.  Stay tuned.

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