When Brock Lesnar took home a decisive decision victory over Mark Hunt at UFC 200 most put it down to sheer physicality and a well executed game plan from a guy who had spent the last five years on the sidelines. There were no questions raised about the four month testing exemption that had previously flooded twitter timelines and the fans and the UFC alike basked in the glory of the return of the former heavyweight champion.
Fast forward a week and all talk of Lesnar’s return, including who and when his next fight might be, has dissipated as his pre-fight, and in-competition drug tests have come back positive for banned substances. For Hunt, what was initially a humble acceptance of a loss to a man who was better on the day, has turned into a harsh realisation for the Aussie based fighter, that the UFC might not always have his best interests at heart.
‘I don’t think it’s a great move. I think he’s juiced to the gills’, Hunt stated in regards to the four month testing exemption for Lesnar when the information became public knowledge prior to UFC200. The subsequent nail in the coffin is now the multiple drug testing failures from Lesnar coupled with a lack of contact, and indeed support from the UFC itself. Hunt has simply put it down to the fact that ‘they (UFC) don’t care.’
For Hunt, this recent string of incidents and the widely-criticised and controversial Reebok deal, has led the heavyweight to call for the establishment of a fighters association. The association would operate to make fighters voices heard, especially around big impact decisions the UFC makes. Hunt has gone so far as to say that fighters often ‘refuse to support other fights when they (the UFC) f*ck us over’ and that fighters won’t be criticial of UFC practices because they are scared of the repercussions.
‘If you ask me there needs to be a system where they at least run things past the fighters before making these decisions and the fighters can look out for each other. We need an association where we can have our voices heard. We are a massive reason why fans watch the sport and we risk our health to do it,’ Hunt said.
While there have been murmurings of the creation of a fighters association over the last couple of years, Hunt is perhaps the most high profile fighter to call for its establishment.