The MMA world has been hit with quite a jolt, as the UFC has announced that Mark Hunt will no longer fight Marcin Tybura at its November 19th card in Sydney, Australia. Fabricio Werdum will face Tybura instead.
The promotion released a statement to the Daily Telegraph in Australia regarding Hunt’s withdrawal, which said this:
“The health-related statements made by Hunt in the article represent the first time UFC was made aware of these claims. “Athlete health and safety is of the utmost importance to the organisation and it would never knowingly schedule an athlete complaining of health issues for a fight. The organisation will require that Hunt undergo further testing and evaluations prior to competing in any future UFC bout.”
The article the statement is referring to appeared in The Players Voice recently, and in the article, Hunt claimed he’s “starting to stutter and slur my words. My memory is not that good anymore.” Hunt also said this in the piece:
“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.
I used to be a little bit naïve. I didn’t realise this until after the Brock Lesnar fight. I would sign fight contracts on the presumption that my opponent was clean. When they break that contract and cheat, it’s like trying to fight a shark in the ocean…”
Now, it’s important to note here that Hunt has launched a civil suit against the UFC and Brock Lesnar, as a result of the latter’s USADA flag, following their 2016 bout. So, chances are this decision by the UFC is going to impact its relationship with Hunt significantly, and you have to wonder if his run with the promotion is done.
Hunt’s last bout took place in June,w when he stopped Derrick Lewis. The 43 year-old feared slugger has gone 3-1, with 1 no contest, in his last five bouts (the no-contest was Hunt’s aforementioned bout with Lesnar).
Werdum, meanwhile, just competed this past weekend at UFC 216, and quickly submitted Walt Harris.
UFC Fight Night 121 will be hosted by the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney.