UFC heavyweight Mark has been fighting professionally for 19 years, compiling a record of 30-13 in kickboxing, 13-11 in MMA, and 1-1 in boxing. The first two have been almost entirely at the highest levels of the sport. Within a year of kickboxing, Hunt was in the K-1 Grand Prix, going the distance with Jerome LeBanner. His first MMA fight was vs. Olympic Judo gold medalist Hidehiko Yoshida; third fight was Wanderlei Silva and fourth fight was CroCop.
In a recent interview with Australia’s Player’s Voice, Hunt revealed that he is suffering effects of fighting for so long.
“I will probably end my life fighting,” began Hunt. “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 fucked 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 shit 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’s greatest concern isn’t the price he has paid, it is the number of performance enhancing drug users he has fought. Of his last five fights, four have failed anti-doping tests – Antonio Silva, Frank Mir, Brock Lesnar, and Alistair Overeem.
“When they break that contract and cheat, it’s like trying to fight a shark in the ocean. It’s not a fair fight at all. I can assume anything by looking at someone, but to actually know he’s a cheater is different. If I had been able to go and take blood from Brock and test him myself then I could have known for sure – I don’t want to fight this guy.
“It frustrates me when people say, ‘Well, you must have known’. I was told he was being tested properly.
“Doping has been a part of the sport for a long time because there is a lot of money at the top. I think all fighters need to band together, the ones who aren’t cheating, and say this isn’t right. People say it doesn’t help with fighting. It does. The cheats get all the advantages; they’re stronger and they recover better.
“I feel proud that I got here without cheating. Proud that I got here without taking any shortcuts and by doing it the proper way. My way.
“I don’t have to worry about anything, I don’t have to worry about looking behind me like a drug dealer or a gangster. I’m a straight person and I can look straight ahead. But those guys have to look behind them because someone will come knocking at the door and say, ‘you cheated! Didn’t you?'”
“There is no way Lance Armstrong could have won seven Tours de France if he wasn’t cheating. The guy that caught him is the UFC’s vice president of athlete health and performance. I tell him the UFC is going to be in trouble if they’re not on top of this. The penalties aren’t being enforced and they aren’t harsh enough. But he’s onto it. It might take him a while to catch all these guys but it’s just a matter of time. Let’s hope no one dies in the meantime.”
The interview is incredible. Read it all HERE.
Hunt says he has three fights left on his contract, and wants to win the UFC title. He’s 43. And he says the contract after that should have the Mark Hunt Clause – a failed PED test means the entire purse goes to the clean fighter. He wants that to be part of his legacy.
Mark Hunt fights Marcin Tybura at UFC Sydney on November 18.
Fighting is bad for you. It’s thrilling to watch, and more thrilling to do. But if you are a fan, when it’s over, you can go on to the next fight. If you are a fighter, you can develop chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
CTE is found in athletes with a history of repetitive symptomatic concussions as well as subconcussive hits to the head that do not cause symptoms. The first stage can begin eight to ten years after the fighter experiences repetitive, mild traumatic brain injury. It can and often does begin years after retirement. There are treatments, but no cure. And it is progressive.
CTE occurs in four stages
Stage 1: Can include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, confusion, disorientation, dizziness, and headaches.
Stage 2: Can include memory loss, social instability, impulsive behavior, and poor judgment.
Stage 3+4: Can include progressive dementia, movement disorders, hypomimia, speech impediments, sensory processing disorder, tremors, vertigo, deafness, depression, and suicidality.