Mark Hunt is getting ready to Fight Curtis Blaydes on PPV this weekend, in Perth, Australia, but he had a few minutes to take the UFC to task for teasing a potential Brock Lesnar return in 2018.
Mark Hunt is getting ready to step back in the ring. The New Zealand-born ‘Super Samoan’ has been sidelined since June, in part the result of concerns over potential CTE-type symptoms he made reference to in a ghostwritten article titled “IF I DIE FIGHTING, THAT’S FINE.” The article ended up resulting in Hunt’s removal from a planned bout against Marcin Tybura in November of last year.
But, after undergoing additional testing and clearances stateside, Hunt is once again ready to go. This time around he’s facing rising young talent Curtis Blaydes, in the co-main event of UFC 221: Romero vs. Rockhold, in Perth.
As fight week closes to the inevitable night of sanctioned violence, however, another familiar name has made his way into the headlines. WWE superstar, and former UFC heavyweight champion, Brock Lesnar. Over the past several months, Lesnar’s mouthpiece, Paul Heyman, and UFC president Dana White have been kicking the idea of a return to MMA for the notable pro-wrestler and PPV attraction. Even just this week, Dana White said he “wouldn’t be shocked” if Lesnar “gave it one more shot.”
It’s unclear whether or not Lesnar would still be facing some sort of suspension ahead of any planned return to the UFC. He had received a 1-year ban from MMA in 2016 following a pair of failed drug tests surrounding his UFC 200 return against Mark Hunt. However, Lesnar announced his retirement from the sport in February of 2017, halfway through the suspension. According to the USADA website, Lesnar hasn’t been tested at all in 2017 or 2018 so far.
Whatever remaining punitive measures may be necessary, that certainly hasn’t stopped the talk. And for a fighter like Mark Hunt – who ended up in the cage with Brock just before those failed tests – just the fact that it’s being considered sends exactly the wrong message.
“Well he shouldn’t be fighting,” Hunt told Submission Radio. “He’s just a cheater. There should be a shelf for steroid users like him. You can’t tell me any different, you doesn’t deserve to be there. He took the shortcuts. And it just goes to show their credibility when they say, ‘Oh, Brock Lesnar’s coming back.’ Oh, so it’s all about money. So you don’t really care about the fighters at all. So when you said to me, ‘Oh, Mark you’ve got to go and get a test because we’re worried about you,’ you’re lying!? Yeah, I thought so.
“At the end of the day, we’re setting a bad example and the wrong example, to not only a lot of the kids coming through that want to be pro fighters at the top, you’re talking about martial artists. This is a sport of respect and honor and doing the right thing, not taking shortcuts to get to the top. Making money… this is just pathetic, that’s all I can say.”
Hunt also spoke about his bout with Blaydes, his hopes to fight for UFC gold once again, and his plans to leave the promotion at the end of his current contract. Check the whole thing out above.
UFC 221 takes place this Saturday, Feburary 10th (Sunday, February 11th locally). With prelims starting on Fight Pass, at 5:30 pm Eastern/3:30 pm Pacific. The card is expected to be headlined by an interim middleweight title fight between former champion Luke Rockhold and top contender Yoel Romero.