Three “Huh?” Moments in MMA Last Week: Mark Hunt’s Health, GSP’s Belt, and Bans

Mark Hunt UFC Moscow
Credit: Dave Mandel/

Fans of MMA in Edmonton will have to travel to get their live fix in 2018, the UFC’s middleweight division has a new-ish champion, and a heavyweight’s health is no longer in question. Huh?

Finding the proper response to much of the news finding its way into our social media feeds is becoming a tougher task every day. Nothing is surprising, and there’s always more to the story. Leaving us with one reply: “huh?”.

Last week, the city council of Edmonton passed a bylaw which prevents the local combat sports commission from issuing new licenses until 2019. Also, Georges St. Pierre vacated his UFC middleweight title, and Mark Hunt is once again cleared to compete in the Octagon.

The reason “huh?”, in its various forms, is such a quality reply is simple. The word is as versatile as a response gets, and while it may require some explanation, “huh?” is sometimes the only way to react to the news of today. Defined by Merriam-Webster as an interjection that’s “used to express surprise, disbelief, or confusion, or as an inquiry inviting affirmative reply”, “huh” or “huh?” can mean a lot of different things.

Despite some of the follies of human evolution (see: Too much TV), the development and growth of “huh” is something we should embrace. To be the change we want to see in the world, here are a few MMA stories last week that made us go “huh?”.

No combat sports in Edmonton in 2018 following Hague investigation

The Edmonton Combative Sports Commission (ECSC) is unable to issue new licenses or event permits until 2019 due to a recently passed city council bylaw. Huh?

The move comes after an independent investigation into the death of former boxer and UFC fighter Tim Hague. Hague, 34, competed in a boxing bout in Edmonton last June. He died two days later.

Hague had a history of being knocked out, including twice in different combat sporting events over the previous six months. In the bout, Hague was knocked down several times before being knocked out in the second round. The independent report of the events from that event will be released this week.

“That Administration and the Edmonton Combative Sports Commission ensure the final independent report into the events surrounding the June 16, 2017 boxing match be provided to the Hague Family and City Council and released to the public no later than December 14, 2017, and that prior to release that the City review in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.” – City of Edmonton Press Release

Journalist Mike Russell has been covering the ECSC’s struggles, and is the source to follow for new information and updates on the the commission. It seems as though troubling practices in Edmonton are nothing new. Taking time to try and get things sorted out is the least the city can do. Commissions play an important role in combat sports, and there is no room for questionable ethics or ineptitude when it comes to the safety of competitors.

Georges St. Pierre’s middleweight adventure is over

A little more than a month after becoming the UFC middleweight champion, Georges St. Pierre is no longer the UFC middleweight champion. Huh?

Shortly after revealing he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, St. Pierre vacated his 185-pound belt. Citing his recent health concerns and not wanting to hold-up proceedings in the division, GSP did the right thing. Now, Robert Whittaker is the promotional king at middleweight.

“My fight at UFC 217 was one of the greatest nights of my life but I now need to take some time to focus on my health,” St-Pierre said in a statement provided by the UFC. “Out of respect to the athletes and the sport, I don’t want to hold up the division. I will be giving up my belt and once I’m healthy I look forward to working with the UFC to determine what’s next in my career.” – via MMA Fighting

Whether or not the legend ever really considered sticking around middleweight doesn’t matter. St. Pierre is the kind of fighter, like Conor McGregor or Ronda Rousey, who’s return should come on their terms. GSP made good on his comeback, becoming one of the select few in UFC history to become a two-division champion.

Yeah, he’d never competed at middleweight. Yeah, he hadn’t fought in several years. And yeah, it took a while to make it happen. But, we’re talking about Georges St. Pierre.

His resumé is one of the best in MMA history, and if it took jumping the line of deserving contenders at 185-pounds to get him back in the Octagon, then so be it. GSP provided some much needed excitement to a sport and promotion that has largely struggled in 2017. Who’s mad about that?

How he’s handled the situation following becoming champion is more proof that giving St. Pierre his title-shot was the right move. What’s next for the legend remains to be seen. Regardless of when it happens, or which weight class it comes in, GSP deserves the same treatment upon his return.

Mark Hunt’s brain is totally fine now, apparently

After being pulled from his bout with Marcin Tybura earlier this year due to health concerns, heavyweight Mark Hunt should be back in the Octagon soon. Huh.

It’s been another tumultuous year for Hunt and the UFC. The promotion was sued by Hunt last year, following his fight with Brock Lesnar at UFC 200. They were able to work things out enough for Hunt to continue fighting under the UFC’s banner, despite the lawsuit. But that changed over the summer after an article by Hunt, detailing numerous health issues, was published.

    The article is a tough read, making fighting seem like the last thing Hunt should be doing. So, the promotion pulled him from the UFC’s Sydney event in October.
    Despite reportedly being cleared by doctors of his choosing, the UFC required Hunt to travel to Las Vegas and be examined by doctors of their choosing. According to Hunt’s manager, those exams have gone well and he expects his client to be cleared by the promotion shortly.

“We’ve just had a conference call with the doctors in the States, who gave us the good news,” Hunt’s manager Zen Ginnen told the Daily Telegraph. “So it’s all looking positive… We’re just waiting on the UFC to clear him.” – via Sherdog

    The timing couldn’t be better for Hunt. The UFC is hosting their second PPV event of 2018 in the Aussie’s home country. According to his manager, they’d like a fight with Fabricio Werdum, a rematch from UFC 180 in November of 2014. Hunt lost via TKO in the second round.
    More fighting and potential trauma doesn’t sound like the best thing for Hunt’s long-term future. Then again, it doesn’t sound like the best thing for anyone’s long-term future. If he’s cleared by the promotion, wants to fight, and can draw viewers, there isn’t much holding the 43-year-old back from continuing to compete in 2018.
    We have the return of one fighter from a health-related layoff, while another goes back on the shelf. It’s not yet clear when we’ll see Mark Hunt, or Georges St. Pierre, return to the Octagon. But, it’s nice to know they should both be back in 2018. Should that be the case, one thing we know for sure is that they won’t be fighting in Edmonton.

Huh? for the road