Hunt: USADA and Novitzky soured me on fighting
Heavyweight free agent Mark Hunt has suffered an often contentious relationship with the UFC, most notably around Brock Lesnar.
Hunt lost a unanimous decision to Lesnar at UFC 200 in 2016, which was later changed to a No Contest. Prior to the fight, Hunto said he was certain Lesnar had been using Performance Enhancing Drugs. Under USADA guidelines, if a fighter leaves the UFC and thus is no longer subject to testing, then upon return, there is a four-month period of PED testing required before the first fight. New fighters have no such restriction. When Brock Lesnar decided to return, because he had not fought since 2011, years before the new PED policy was put in place, he was treated like a new fighter, and was not subject to the four-month test and waiting period.
When Lesnar did return, he was tested extensively. However, some of those test results came back after the fight had already happened. And Lesnar failed an anti-doping test for Clomiphene. He was suspended for one year by USADA. But in the meantime, Hunt had lost to yet another fighter who would later fail an anti-doping test. Hunt sued the UFC over the Lesnar fight, and fought out his contract, losing a decision to Justin Willis at UFC Fight Night 142 on December 2. 2018.
Hunt's fury around PED testing was fueled when USADA allowed Jon Jones to fight despite finding infinitesimally small traces of a metabolite for Turinabol. A doctor determined that the test irregularity provided zero level of performance enhancement, and was a remnant of a failed test for which Jones had already been punished.
Although the science around PED testing at this level is uncertain, a rational explanation is that Jones took Turinabol at some pre-USADA point, and that minute traces of metabolites of the drug remain in his fat cells, and are released when he cuts weight and gets dehydrated. However, Hunt takes a darker view of what transpired, as well as USADA and UFC drug czar Jeff Novitzky.
“They’ve actually taken my love for fighting away because of how they promote steroids and cheaters, how they’ve done it all,” said Hunt recently to MMA UK, as transcribed by Jed Meshew for MMA Fighting. “They’ve pushed me out of the way, to be honest and that’s what’s taken my love for fighting away. It’s kind of sad because they should be promoting the guy that’s not cheating whereas they are promoting the cheaters of this sport, which is wrong. I actually thought Jeff Novitzky was a nice person but he’s just a sellout. You’re a sellout, bro. That’s the bottom line.”
“Pure example, look at the situation with Jon Jones and Gustafsson. Look at that situation. They move a whole freakin’ show for one cheating guy. All the fans miss out on all their airlines, all their flights, all that jazz. They miss out all because of this one idiot. ... The UFC has the best stringent testing in the whole freakin’ world but look what they’re doing. They give people four-month waivers so they can get past the tests, they’ve got these guys that say ‘The tests say has a picogram - a bit of steroids in him - but that’s from the last time we caught him.’ But he’s still got some s*** in him. So does that mean he’s cheating? Yes, he is. Why are you even putting him to fight? The truth of the fact is, it didn’t matter whether he had a picogram now or if he had it 20 years ago, he’s still got some s*** in him so he shouldn’t be fighting. It’s illegal. They’re promoting steroids, that’s what they’re doing.”
“I still want to be the world champion in MMA. I know I’m 44 but still it’s one of my dreams. It’s been put off for a little because of this stupid company. The moment I realized I was never gonna get a title shot, that’s the time I started losing. Since the Derrick Lewis fight, every fight after that has been not good at all. I actually went to see a sport [psychologist] about it and he hit it on the head straightaway when I talked to him: it’s hard to work for a company that’s cheated you and a lot of other fighters.”
“I want to fight five more times. I want to see if it’s time to retire or if working for the UFC just made me go sour. At the end of the day, it’s either-or. I still feel like I’m a lot better than a lot of those guys.”
Hunt is a free agent and considering options from a number of promotions. It's not likely they have more stringent anti-doping controls than USADA.