Three “Huh?” Moments in MMA Last Week: Alvarez-Poirier, Promotional Guidelines, and Mark Hunt’s Future

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UFC Auckland Mark Hunt
Mark Hunt Credit: Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog.com

A former lightweight champion is avoiding a rematch everyone knows should happen, UFC adjusted some promotional policies, and Mark Hunt is already planning his next career move. 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, former 155-pound champion Eddie Alvarez let it be known that he’s not fighting Dustin Poirier again anytime soon. Meanwhile, the UFC made some minor tweaks to their sponsorship payouts and promotion guidelines, and Mark Hunt is already planning his post-UFC future.

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: Bitcoin), 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?”.

Eddie Alvarez is the only person who thinks Dustin Poirier rematch shouldn’t happen

Although every MMA fan knows that Dustin Poirier deserves a rematch with Eddie Alvarez, the former 155-pound champ feels otherwise. Huh?

The duo fought at UFC 211, with a disappointing no-contest as the result. Poirier was winning the fight, before illegal knees from Alvarez forced a stoppage late in the second. Rather than an immediate rematch, both fighters were paired with tough opponents.

Poirier defeated former champ Anthony Pettis in decisive fashion at UFC Norfolk. Then, Alvarez became the first person to defeat Justin Gaethje in a Fight of the Year candidate at UFC 218. Now, both fighters are nearing a title shot. A rematch makes just as much sense now as it did in the late-summer. Except if you ask Alvarez.

“I respect Dustin for the push, he’s doing his best job,” Alvarez said on The MMA Hour. “But it’s all for naught. It would be silly for me to let me go backwards and look at that guy. I’m looking the same way he’s looking: Forward at like Tony Ferguson, we’ll keep an eye on the Khabib-Barboza fight. I’m going to do my best to help Edson whoop on Khabib. We’ll see how that top shakes out.” – via MMA Fighting

Considering a rematch with Poirier a step backwards is, to use Alvarez’s own words, “silly”. Especially coming from a guy who secured his first win since July of 2016 last month. The first bout was a no-contest, due to an Alvarez error. Couple that with the way the fight was going, and Alvarez’s intentions seem less than honorable.

Why Alvarez thinks waiting for things to shake out (and hoping they do so in his favor) is smarter than attempting to improve his resumé, and chances for another title shot, is anyone’s guess. Our guess? The first bout with Poirier showed Alvarez that a rematch might not go so well. If he feels that’s the case, he might as well wait, avoid that potential loss, and hope for a shot at Nurmagomedov, Barboza, or Ferguson.

Alvarez will be disappointed though, as slotting him into the title picture makes little sense with the other fighters currently involved. Matchups like McGregor-Ferguson, Ferguson-Nurmagomedov, and 145-pound champ Max Holloway are all better options for the promotion and fans alike.

UFC adjusts Reebok payouts and promotional policies

The UFC made some minor adjustments to their sponsorship outfitting policies, and created some mandatory duties for fighters within their promotional guidelines. Huh.

We broke down all of the changes last week, with the major implicaitons coming to fighters fighting in their first 10 bouts in the UFC. In the past, fighters made $2,500 per fight in their first five fights in the promotion. Now, fighters will make $3,500 in each of their first three fights. That’s the lowest tier of the payout structure.

The other change comes in the second tier, which used to be for fights six through 10 in the UFC. The amount will stay the same: $5,000. But, fighters will now reach that tier in their fourth fight for the promotion, rather than their sixth. After that, the rest of the original pay structure stays the same.

More notable in the promotional policy changes are the updated duties for fighters.

“…four days of “advance” media promotions, plus six hours of “fight week” promotion. An hour of “postfight” promotion is also required by all UFC athletes. Main and co-main event fighters have additional requirements, including granting UFC camera access eight days prior to a fight. Twice yearly, the UFC can also request a one-day, eight-hour commercial shoot.” – via Cageside Press

The moves are minor. However, it will be interesting to see the impact they have. Paying fighters more is always good. Especially when it comes to younger fighters. Even if it isn’t the biggest amounts, it’s a step in the right direction that will hopefully followed by more, bigger steps in the future.

It will also be interesting to see how strictly the new promotional duties for fighters will be enforced. There was no shortage of coverage when it came to testy situations regarding Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey in the past. Whether or not the few superstars in the promotion will be held to the same standard as those with less leverage remains to be seen.

Mark Hunt is looking forward to not fighting in the UFC

Although he has some fights remaining on his current contract, UFC heavyweight Mark Hunt is already planning his exit from the promotion. Huh?

“That will be the end of my career in the UFC. I have two fights left and that’s it. You probably know the path I’ve had with the UFC, but you know, it’s business” Hunt said. “I haven’t done nothing wrong, I just don’t like to be treated like s**t – even if I’m an employee or whatever and I speak my mind about it and, you know, I’ll go from there.” – via MMA Fighting

Hunt’s rocky relations with the UFC aren’t anything new. From lawsuits to mandatory medical testing, it’s been a rough couple of years. Still, they’ve been able to work things out and Hunt is slated to fight Curtis Blaydes at UFC 221 in Australia this February.

Hunt went to say, in the interview with Submission Radio, that he’s looking for “global” fights. Mentioning Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, the 43-year-old has put the likes of RIZIN FF, Bellator MMA, and more on notice. Whether Hunt is still (or should be) fighting or not at the end of his current contract is to be determined. But one thing is for sure, there’s only a few more opportunities to watch Mark Hunt compete in the Octagon.

Eddie Alvarez is running from a rematch with Dustin Poirier faster than Mark Hunt can get away from the UFC. While we may never get Alvarez-Poirier 2, we do have at least a few more chances to enjoy Mark Hunt’s UFC career. We’ll get to watch him, and more, promote fights more often for the promotion, whether they like it or not. Huh.

Huh? for the road

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