It’s been a rough few years for UFC heavyweight Mark Hunt.
After losing to Brock Lesnar during the former heavyweight champion’s return, Hunt was not shy about voicing his anger when Lesnar tested positive for banned substances following the fight.
The bout was officially ruled a no-contest after the findings, but this didn’t cool Hunt’s ire. His main qualm seemed to be Lesnar’s apparent exemption from USADA testing procedures leading up to his comeback.
Hunt stayed active in competition though, and at one time was scheduled to compete on the UFC’s upcoming card in Sydney. But the New Zealander got a nasty surprise following a self-published article that seemed to admit the early symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
Hunt had stated he was already experiencing memory loss, slurred speech, and trouble speaking as a result of his time in combat sports. Amid concerns about worsening an already scary condition, UFC officials pulled the heavy-hitting Hunt from the bout. They also stated he’d have to complete additional testing prior to returning to competition.
Though officials claimed the decision was for the fighter’s own safety, this seemingly well-intentioned move didn’t sit well with Hunt. After unleashing a blistering tirade against UFC president Dana White, Hunt has challenged the UFC’s stance on the issue and even called into question the legitimacy of their fighters-first approach to safety.
“There’s nothing in the results that says I can’t fight. . . The UFC says they’re acting for my well-being; why did they put me in the Octagon with all these cheaters, then? Why are they letting Georges St-Pierre fight again when he’s talked about seeing aliens?”
The former welterweight champion discussed what he described as a possible alien encounter on a podcast years ago. Given the unusual nature of such claims, many wondered if GSP was also dealing with the early symptoms of CTE.
GSP is scheduled to compete for the middleweight title at UFC 217 against Michael Bisping. GSP has passed all the medical examinations leading up to his bout. However, Hunt claims he also passed the appropriate tests. He’s even showcased his chess skills on social media in an effort to prove his case. Hunt has stated his original comments were overblown, and taken out of context.
He also referenced Kevin Lee’s apparent staph infection from UFC 216 as he questioned management’s decisions. “They just let a guy fight with a staph infection last week. If they’re worried about our well-being, why did they do all that?”
Hunt has even suggested the UFC’s move to take him off the Sydney card could be due to an ongoing lawsuit. The situation with Lesnar was enough for Hunt to take legal action, and the case is still unresolved to this day.
CTE is gaining more attention as scientists discover more about the human brain, what impacts it, and how severe the effects can be. Former professional wrestlers, football players, and many other athletes have all spoken about the dangerous effects of concussions, especially those that are undiagnosed and untreated.
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