Mark Hunt is not taking his removal from UFC Sydney laying down. After the promotion pulled Hunt from the November event citing health concerns following the publication of an article attributed to Hunt himself in Australia’s Player’s Voice, Hunt has been on the warpath, claiming UFC President Dana White has it out for him. Why? Because Hunt is in the process of suing the UFC over what it knew (or didn’t) regarding performance enhancing drug use by his opponents. Specifically, Brock Lesnar.
Of course, Hunt did bring up memory loss in the original article in Player’s Voice, and suggested that he’d die fighting. The UFC, no doubt aware that appearances can matter as much as anything, gave Hunt the hook.
The original article, attributed to Hunt (though he’d later claim to be misquoted), now has a followup. On Monday, a second article by Hunt, entitled A Message to Dana White, appeared on Player’s Voice. It begins
This is a joke. An absolutely friggin’ joke.
Dana White obviously has it in for me and he’s looking for anything he can – no matter how small or bullshit or trivial – as an excuse to push me out of the UFC.
I’ve been vocal about the UFC’s bad record on performance-enhancing drugs and how it has impacted my career – the titles I should’ve won and the money it’s cost me. It’s a real concern and many other fighters feel the same way.
So, what did they do about it?
Did they extend the punishment for cheats?
Did they ban repeat offenders for good?
Did they double down on detection and prevention?
They turned on the whistleblower.
It’s interesting to hear Hunt use the term “whistleblower.” Since bringing in USADA in 2015, the general consensus has been that the UFC has led the charge to rid MMA of performance enhancing drugs. That said, Hunt has had the unfortunate experience of having had multiple opponents — Lesnar, Frank Mir, Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva — test positive for banned substances in recent year.
Silva and Mir, Hunt defeated, but he suffered a decision loss to Lesnar that was later changed to a No Contest due to Lesnar failing a drug test in advance of their fight at UFC 200. Unfortunately, the test results were not returned in time to prevent the fight from happening.
In any case, Hunt goes on to state that he has passed all his medicals, and that his comments about memory loss and slurred speech were taken out of context. “There is nothing wrong with my health. Who doesn’t forget things from time-to-time? Who out there has never stuttered or slurred a word at some point?” Hunt says in this new article. “That part of the article was said with relation to a running joke between my wife and I.”
Ultimately, Hunt vs. the UFC is starting to feel like an ugly divorce. Maybe it’s time for the Super Samoan to walk away from what might be seen as an abusive relationship. We hear Bellator’s heavyweight division is ramping up again soon.