his win against Daniel Cormier at UFC 214 as a result of a failed USADA test) talk in the MMA community once again turns towards the use of banned substances by combat athletes and the myriad questions surrounding them. And as the debates begin anew, one fighter has contributed a particularly insightful view into the perspective of one side of the discussion.
Mark Hunt is currently the fifth-ranked heavyweight in the world and for the last year he has been one of the most vocal opponents to the use of performance-enhancing drugs and banned substances in MMA. In a revelatory piece he penned Wednesday for Players Voice, Hunt discussed the consequences of his career as a fighter and why he is so adamantly against PEDs in MMA, saying that he is already starting to see the effects of fighting on his life and that knowing that some of the damage he has taken came from men cheating the system isn’t right.
“I will probably end my life fighting.
“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.”
Hunt began speaking out about banned substances in MMA after his fight with Brock Lesnar at UFC 200 for Lesnar would eventually test positive for hydroxy-clomiphene and received a one-year suspension. Lesnar is far from the only fighter Hunt’s faced who has been associated with banned substances though. Of the 24 different men Hunt has faced in MMA, 10 of those have been substantively connected to the use of banned substances, either through drug testing or self-admission. Hunt’s combined record against those men is an even 5-5-1, with his loss to Lesnar being overturned into a no-contest; considering this, it’s not hard to see why Hunt believes his career has been irrevocably impeded as a result.
“I’d be champ already if it wasn’t for the cheaters. I’d probably be retired, sitting at home playing video games all day, eating KFC. These guys couldn’t cut it with me if they weren’t cheating. I’ve missed out on sponsors and millions of dollars. It pisses me off when I think about it. If you take away all my fights against juicers, it would probably be half of my fight record gone. I paid my way to the top with blood and sweat, these guys had to enhance themselves to get here.
“Everyone says the first Bigfoot fight is one of the greatest heavyweight bouts of all time, but not for me. It’s stained. That guy ruined everything. You take away his juice and he’s nothing. The first fight we had, we nearly killed each other. The second fight, when he was clean, he didn’t even last a round. He wasn’t the same person as the one that almost frigging killed me.”
But if Hunt has harsh words for the men who have used PEDs against him in the past, it’s nothing compared to his thoughts on the UFC. “The Super Samoan” is currently suing the UFC over the circumstances of his fight with Lesnar but it’s clear Hunt takes issue with the organization on other grounds as well, lambasting the UFC for their treatment of fighters financially.
“It pisses me off when some fighters say, ‘It’s great to be part of the UFC, it pays the bills’. It doesn’t. That’s coming from one of the highest-paid fighters in the world. These guys don’t get paid jack s**t. For someone that makes $200,000-$300,000 a fight, half of that goes to tax and half again is for their camp. Then whatever’s left they’ve got to use for their mortgage. If you’ve worked your arse off to get in the top ten, you should be getting paid properly.
“Even the champion, Stipe Miocic, is asking for more money. How the hell can the champion of the world be asking for a pay rise? Gegard Mousasi is another one. He moved to Bellator and it’s because these guys aren’t getting what they’re worth and they don’t know what the company is making off them.
“I’m just speaking the truth; a lot of fighters are scared to.”
But despite Hunt’s disillusionment with both his employer and the state of “honest competition” in MMA, circumstances which he at one point says have caused him to advise his sons away from pursuing fighting as a career path, and the fact that at 43 Hunt is the oldest fighter currently still competing in the UFC, Hunt concludes by saying he’s still not ready to walk away from fighting just yet, not until he gets the title he feels he’s been denied by PED users.
“Whenever I start something, I try to finish it. I’ve got three fights left. I want to win that world title. It’s a dream of mine to be a mixed martial arts world champion. I’ve been the best fighter in the world at kickboxing – they can’t take that away from me – but when I started in MMA I realized how great this sport is. It’s the ultimate combat sport and that’s why I want to be the world’s best at it.
“I’ve come close. I had my title shot in Mexico – I didn’t cut it but the circumstances weren’t right. I’m number six in the world right now and I feel I can do it in three fights. I’m still one of the best fighters on the planet. I honestly don’t care what anyone says. I’m knocking fools out. I’m beating guys because that’s what I was born to do. Twenty seven years of fighting, 16 years at the top of two different sports – the oldest fighter on the planet and still going.”
Mark Hunt is set to face Marcin Tybura at UFC Sydney on Nov. 18.
NC. Jon Jones’ win over Daniel Cormier at UFC 214 overturned to a no-contest.
DC. Daniel Cormier has been reinstated as the UFC light heavyweight champion.
Trust. Demetrious Johnson says he has “no idea” if he can trust Ray Borg to show up for their rebooked fight.
DC on getting the title back.
Rockhold saying DC is the real champ and JBJ has been cheating the whole time.
Really good interview with GSP.
Tommy’s Nate is very different for Fox.
Mike Perry Fan Q & A.
LIVE w/ Mike Perry ahead of #UFCPittsburgh!Posted by UFC on Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Obviously Fight Talk. Chucky Mind Games comes on plus UFC Pittsburgh preview.
Jordan Breen Show. UFC 215 discussion and listener calls.
Jon Jones moving forward in his life. pic.twitter.com/0ABi7UkMX2— Davei Boi (@Davei_Boi) September 13, 2017
Eddie is awesome.
Eddie Alvarez recalls his experience and how he got over losing to Conor McGregor on the big stage with Ariel Beck. https://t.co/6MSVBEP80R— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) September 14, 2017
Respect to my new opponent steppin up on 3 days notice. Let's see what you got Alex Reyes— Platinum Mike Perry (@PlatinumPerry) September 13, 2017
Belal the most wanted guy on the block.
he was gonna need more than the juice to beat me— Belal muhammad (@bullyb170) September 13, 2017
I'm down for a tombstone duel https://t.co/CNvSbAAU3t— Belal muhammad (@bullyb170) September 13, 2017
Win or learn.
you deserve them and I look forward to you getting more opportunities my friend. Forever a fan— Brian Stann (@BrianStann) September 13, 2017
Excited for this one!! I won't be denied 11/11 Norfolk Va pic.twitter.com/LXSA7Gkkg3— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) September 14, 2017
Who should NGannou get next?
I encourage you to read Hunt’s entire piece as it really is something. Even if you don’t agree with all or even most of it, it’s an incredible look into his mind and his perspective on things.
Also, Shaun summed up the Jones situation perfectly.
2015: Jon Jones stripped of UFC LHW title.
2016: Jones stripped of interim UFC LHW title.
2017: Jones stripped of UFC LHW title.
Unreal.— Shaheen Al-Shatti (@shaunalshatti) September 14, 2017
Wild stuff. Take it easy everyone and see y’all tomorrow.
If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram, add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting, and like us on Facebook.