The UFC might be looking out for Mark Hunt’s best interests, but he’s not pleased with its latest decision regarding his career.
Hunt was scheduled to fight Marcin Tybura in the heavyweight main event of UFC Sydney on Nov. 18, but the promotion announced Tuesday that “The Super Samoan” has been removed from that booking due to “medical concerns” and he will be replaced by Fabricio Werdum.
Suffice to say, this apparently didn’t sit well with Hunt. He took to Instagram to post an expletive-laden message aimed at UFC president Dana White, threatening to sue him over the news:
Hunt recently wrote a passionate testimonial for the Players Voice, in which he detailed some of the health problems that have been plaguing him after almost 20 years of professional MMA and kickboxing.
“I will probably end my life fighting,” Hunt wrote this past September.
“I’ve been fighting since I was a child, fighting to get out of my circumstances. I used to make $300 a week, struggling to put food on the table but I have become one of the highest-paid fighters in the world. I feel that’s destiny. This is what I’m supposed to be doing and if I die fighting, that’s fine. I just hope that if it does happen, it will be in an honest and fair competition.
“My body is f**ked but my mind is still here. I’ve still got my senses about me and I know what’s right and wrong, which is the main thing. Sometimes I don’t sleep well. You can hear me starting to stutter and slur my words. My memory is not that good anymore. I’ll forget something I did yesterday but I can remember the s**t I did years and years ago.
“That’s just the price I’ve paid – the price of being a fighter. But I’ve fought a lot of drug cheats and copped a lot of punishment from guys who were cheating and that’s not right.”
No official statement has been made regarding the specific medical concerns that led to Hunt’s removal.
UPDATE: Hunt followed up his initial Instagram post addressing the bout change with two more posts. In one, he says he was misquoted in the Players Voice and that his comments about his poor memory are a “running joke” between him and his wife:
In the other, Hunt wrote that the reason he has been pulled from UFC Sydney is due to the ongoing lawsuit between himself and the company and not concerns over his health:
. "I'm disappointed that I have been withdrawn from the fight, I have passed all medicals 2 days ago. And spent 100,000 on camp. The truth is the legal case I have filed has caused me to be withdrawn. The interview has been taken out of context and want to reassure all my fans, I slur my words only when I have a drink I'm fit and healthy, and would have understood if the UFC requested a medical to ensure my safety, however this is total bullshit fuck you Dana, you've always hated me you dog"
MMA Fighting reached out to Hunt’s manager, who offered the following statement:
UFC mentioned they were concerned with Mark’s health based on his previous interview with mentioning slight health issues. So it was suggested we send him to the specialist in Sydney to do a full test of his brain which he did all last week and the results came back with nothing major that he couldn’t compete with. UFC mentioned they didn’t feel comfortable because of the statements he made still and would like more tests done so Mark wasn’t able to go forward with the fight in Sydney, unfortunately.
Hunt is currently suing the UFC, White, and Brock Lesnar for racketeering, fraud, battery and civil conspiracy. The 43-year-old fighter is accusing the promotion of allowing Lesnar to fight Hunt at UFC 200 last July, despite allegedly being aware that Lesnar was using performance-enhancing drugs.
It was later announced by the USADA that both Lesnar’s out-of-competition sample and a sample collected on fight night tested positive for a banned substance.