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Mark Hunt felt like he had to accept Alistair Overeem fight or ‘let my family starve’

SB Nation logoSB Nation 6/01/2017
Mark Hunt will accept a fight with Alistair Overeem, because he feels like he has no choice. © Esther Lin, MMA Fighting Mark Hunt will accept a fight with Alistair Overeem, because he feels like he has no choice.

Mark Hunt will accept a fight with Alistair Overeem, because he feels like he has no choice.

Mark Hunt was trying to fight the UFC for further protections in his contract. But he felt like he had no choice but accept a fight without those protections.

Hunt will face Alistair Overeem at UFC 209 on March 4 in Las Vegas, it was announced last month. Originally, Hunt said he would only take the fight if the UFC wrote new provisions in his contract about an opponent caught doping. But “The Super Samoan” told “Stuff” in his native New Zealand that he had to take the bout without them for financial reasons.

"Think it from my position, I had no other option,” Hunt said. “I can't work anywhere else so what am I supposed to do — let my family starve?”

Hunt turned down multiple fights late last year. He is still fuming over the fact that Brock Lesnar, his opponent at UFC 200 in July, failed two drug tests in relation to that bout.

To make matters worse, the UFC waived a rule requiring a returning athlete to be in the USADA drug-testing program for four months to allow Lesnar to compete at the historic UFC 200. Lesnar signed with the UFC about a month out of the contest and the promotion granted him an exemption from the full four months of testing.

As it turned out, Lesnar failed an out-of-competition drug test June 28, but the results did not come back until after the July 9 fight. USADA did not expedite those results, which might have saved Hunt from fighting a doper. Lesnar, who also failed a fight-night test, did pass his first five out-of-competition screens before the fight.

The Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) suspended Lesnar for one year, fined him $250,000 and overturned the bout result to a no contest. Lesnar had originally beaten Hunt by unanimous decision. On Wednesday, USADA announced it also suspended Lesnar for one year.

Hunt, who did not think the penalty for Lesnar was enough, has been exploring the possibility of a lawsuit against the UFC and Lesnar. The thing he wants more than anything else is a share of an opponent’s purse — or the whole thing — if that opponent fails a drug test.

Lesnar still walked away with 10s of millions of dollars, despite the fine, at UFC 200. Hunt has also faced Frank Mir and Antonio Silva, both of whom test positive following those bouts.

“I didn't even think the [Nevada commission] penalty was harsh enough,” Hunt told “Stuff.” “He got a $250,000 fine but he made about $2 million bucks so how did it actually affect him?

"They (dopers) should be struck from the records and taken everything off them. They don't deserve to get a cent. This sport is already harsh enough as it is. When you add in steroid use it makes it even worse.”

Lesnar did not test positive for steroids. He failed both drug tests for clomiphene, an anti-estrogen agent.

Hunt, 42, said he really felt like he had no choice but to accept the fight with Overeem, who coincidentally has tested positive for elevated testosterone levels in the past. The UFC won’t release him from his contract, Hunt said, and he has to make money.

“In six months I've already missed out on a couple of fights, I've already missed out on a couple million dollars," Hunt said. … ”At the end of the day I've stuck to my word. I've got no option, I'm in a contract that I can't get out of.

"All the doors I've gone through are closed and it's not like I can go and work somewhere else. Ages ago I was gladly ready to walk away and work somewhere else but they wouldn't allow it.”

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