Brock Lesnar hired the best attorney that money could buy after he tested positive for the prohibited substance clomiphene last summer. The $2.5 million dollars Lesnar earned from his victory over Mark Hunt at UFC 200 on July 9, 2016 appeared to be in jeopardy. It was his lawyer’s job to make sure this wasn’t the case.
Sports lawyer Howard Jacobs came through for Lesnar this week when he negotiated a settlement with the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) that sent Lesnar laughing all the way to the bank. The NSAC announced a one year suspension and a paltry $250,000 fine. The fine represented 1/10th of Lesnar’s share of the UFC 200 purse. The NSAC could have fined Lesnar up to 70 percent of his UFC 200 purse. But it didn’t.
Lesnar probably never should have been able to fight Hunt in the first place. Lesnar’s first dirty sample was collected ten days prior to UFC 200 on June 28, 2016. But the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) did not have the results available before UFC 200. The fight was allowed to continue. And Lesnar won and took home a $2.5 million purse.
By contrast, USADA collected a sample from UFC light heavyweight Jon Jones 22 days before UFC 200 on June 16, 2016. Jones tested positive for clomiphene and letrozole. Jones was swiftly dropped from the UFC 200 card against Daniel Cormier. Jones earned nothing.
Jones received the same one-year suspension for his clomiphene and letrozole positive as Lesnar received for his clomiphene positive. The UFC also decided to independently suspend Jones for one-year concurrent with his NSAC suspension. For some unexplained reason, Dave Sholler, the UFC Vice President of Public Relations and Athlete Marketing and Development, revealed that UFC would not fine Lesnar.
UFC gave Lesnar preferential treatment on many occasions. Not only did the UFC refuse to penalize him for failing a drug test, it also make an exception for Lesnar by waiving the 4-month drug testing retirement before UFC 200,
Mark Hunt is one athlete who was dismayed by the UFC’s unwillingness to confront questions over Lesnar’s suspected steroid use. Hunt thinks it’s clear that the UFC isn’t truly interested in stopping doping – at least when it comes to Lesnar.
If UFC was serious, it would have forced Lesnar to submit to 4-months of drug testing prior to UFC 200 just like everyone else. And if UFC was serious, it would have stripped Lesnar of his UFC 200 prize earnings and reallocated some, if not all, of it to him.
It seems like the UFC was willing to overlook Lesnar’s doping issues in order to guarantee a big payday for UFC 200. The UFC benefitted greatly by the record revenues from the event. It certainly helped them justify the $4 billion price tag it sold itself for a few days after UFC 200.
It was a mutually beneficial agreement between UFC President Dana White and Lesnar. Lesnar didn’t have to subject himself to same extensive USADA steroid testing as other UFC athletes for his lucrative UFC 200 payday. And afterward, no matter what happened, he could go back to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) as a part-time entertainer who is not subjected to the WWE steroid testing program.
It must be nice to be Lesnar. The UFC found a way to give him millions while allowing him to avoid strict steroid testing. And WWE found a way to give him millions while while allowing him to avoid any type of steroid testing at all.