It’s no secret what Mark Hunt thinks of the Ultimate Fighting Championship; in particular, the promotion’s relationship with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). Hunt has been vocal in the past about the special treatment certain fighters in the UFC get after being caught taking performance enhancing drugs in the sport.
“The Super Samoan” explained to MMA UK recently that he believes the UFC favors these high profile fighters instead of promoting athletes like him who have been drug free their entire life. Hunt also blasted UFC Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff Novitzky, labeling him “a sellout.” Novitzky was known primarily as the man who brought down cyclist Lance Armstrong for doping in the Tour de France when he joined the UFC in 2015.
MMA fans recently got to know Novitzky as he was the man who provided an explanation of Jon Jones’ recent positive drug test which forced the entire UFC 232 card to be moved to Los Angeles last month as the Nevada Athletic Commission wouldn’t grant Jones a licence to fight.
Hunt believes the treatment shown towards fighters who have taken performance enhancing drugs have sucked all of his passion out of the sport (transcribed by MMA Fighting):
“They’ve actually taken my love for fighting away because of how they promote steroids and cheaters, how they’ve done it all,” Hunt said. “They’ve pushed me out of the way, to be honest and that’s what’s taken my love for fighting away. It’s kind of sad because they should be promoting the guy that’s not cheating whereas they are promoting the cheaters of this sport, which is wrong. I actually thought Jeff Novitzky was a nice person but he’s just a sellout. You’re a sellout, bro. That’s the bottom line.”
A frustrated Hunt said the decision to move the entire UFC 232 card for just one fighter is proof that the promotion only looks out for their most prized assets.
“For example, look at the situation with Jon Jones and [Alexander] Gustafsson,” Hunt said. “Look at that situation. They move a whole freakin’ show for one cheating guy. All the fans miss out on all their airlines, all their flights, all that jazz. They miss out all because of this one idiot.
“The UFC has the best stringent testing in the whole freakin’ world but look what they’re doing,” Hunt added. “They give people four-month waivers so they can get past the tests, they’ve got these guys that say ‘The tests say he has a picogram -- a bit of steroids in him -- but that’s from the last time we caught him.’ But he’s still got some sh*t in him. So does that mean he’s cheating? Yes, he is. Why are you even putting him to fight? The truth of the fact is, it didn’t matter whether he had a picogram now or if he had it 20 years ago, he’s still got some sh*t in him so he shouldn’t be fighting. It’s illegal. They’re promoting steroids, that’s what they’re doing.”
Hunt believes his relationship with the UFC and USADA has affected his performances inside the Octagon where he lost all three of his fights last year and looked a shadow of himself.
“I still want to be the world champion in MMA,” Hunt said. “I know I’m 44 but still it’s one of my dreams. It’s been put off for a little because of this stupid company. The moment I realized I was never gonna get a title shot, that’s the time I started losing. Since the Derrick Lewis fight, every fight after that has been not good at all. I actually went to see a sport [psychologist] about it and he hit it on the head straightaway when I talked to him: It’s hard to work for a company that’s cheated you and a lot of other fighters.”
Despite being 44 years old, Hunt said he wants to fight five more times before retiring and is currently assessing offers from a number of promotions.
“I want to fight five more times,” Hunt said. “I want to see if it’s time to retire or if working for the UFC just made me go sour. At the end of the day, it’s either-or. I still feel like I’m a lot better than a lot of those guys.”