When the UFC removed Mark Hunt from the UFC 121 main event bout in Sydney, Australia, earlier this week, the transplanted New Zealander was livid.
UFC officials stated that Hunt was removed from his fight with Marcin Tybura and replaced by Fabricio Werdum due to concerns about his health following comments he made in an interview with the Player’s Voice.
“Sometimes I don’t sleep well. You can hear me starting to stutter and slur my words,” he was quoted as saying. “My memory is not that good anymore. I’ll forget something I did yesterday, but I can remember the (expletive) 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.”
After being removed from the fight, Hunt took to his Instagram account, where he stated that he was misquoted in the interview and claimed that the UFC was punishing him for a lawsuit that he is currently pursuing in relation to his contract and having to compete against fighters that had been caught using performance-enhancing drugs.
“I’m disappointed that I have been withdrawn from the fight, I have passed all medicals two days ago. And spent $100,000 on camp,” Hunt said. “The truth is the legal case I have filed has caused me to be withdrawn. The interview has been taken out of context and want to reassure all my fans, I slur my words only when I have a drink. I’m fit and healthy, and would have understood if the UFC requested a medical to ensure my safety, however, this is total (expletive). (Expletive) you Dana, you’ve always hated me you dog.”
White, in a Thursday comment to TMZ Sports, denied Hunt's accusations, claiming that he and the UFC were only acting in Hunt's best interests.
“I never hated Mark Hunt,” said White. “Sometimes, you gotta protect these guys from themselves and that's what we're looking into right now.”
(Video courtesy of TMZ Sports | Viewing may be limited by broadcast rights restrictions)