UFC

If I die fighting, that’s fine

Mark Hunt - Contributor

UFC

If I die fighting, that’s fine

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I will probably end my life fighting.

 

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.

 

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. 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?”

 

Ben Johnson, Lance Armstrong, all these clowns – I call them monkeys. It’s on them.

 

Armstrong, the biggest cheater on the planet, won the Tour de France seven times before he was caught. But he wasn’t fighting. He wasn’t hurting someone. He was riding a bicycle. That’s the difference in the fight game.

 

But Armstrong was still ruining people’s lives. The guys that came second, third, fourth, fifth – he robbed them. He cheated their families out of the better things in life. That’s the way I look at it now.

 

There is no way 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.

 

 

I WOULD HAVE BEEN CHAMP, BUT FOR CHEATS

I’d be champ already if it wasn’t for the cheaters. I’d probably be retired, sitting at home playing video games all day, eating KFC. These guys couldn’t cut it with me if they weren’t cheating.

 

I’ve missed out on sponsors and millions of dollars. It pisses me off when I think about it.

 

Lesnar is a big name. He’s a superstar. That was my chance to get closer to the title – it would have been my third straight win. Instead, all I got was people hating on me. They say, ‘You’re a whinger, why are you trying to get his money?’ It’s not his money. He shouldn’t get anything.

 

He knew what he was putting in his body. What he did was pre-meditated assault. If I had died…

 

 

If you take away all my fights against juicers, it would probably be half of my fight record gone. I paid my way to the top with blood and sweat, these guys had to enhance themselves to get here.

 

Everyone says the first Bigfoot fight is one of the greatest heavyweight bouts of all time, but not for me. It’s stained. That guy ruined everything. You take away his juice and he’s nothing.

 

The first fight we had, we nearly killed each other. The second fight, when he was clean, he didn’t even last a round. He wasn’t the same person as the one that almost frigging killed me.

 

I broke my hand in that first fight. I broke my hand punching a cheater and I was out for almost a year. I didn’t have work; I had zero income. It takes a lot out of you and has a huge impact on your life.

 

It was a hard fight mentally and physically but as a modern-day gladiator, as a fighter, I love that. People say that’s ridiculous but for me, getting up and going to work a 9-5 job is ridiculous. You’re just making someone else money. I’m lucky to be a top-end prize fighter.

 

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.

 

But then the next guy popped, Frank Mir, and I started asking the UFC, ‘What are you going to do about this?’ I didn’t realise the importance of me voicing my opinion about drugs in the sport until after the Lesnar fight. He hits like a bitch but he still beat me using pure strength. I’m quite strong and could usually get out of most situations.

 

I’ve fought some big guys but Brock is only 6’3 and he’s still three times my size. How does that work? If I was gearing the same as him I probably would have thrown him out of the octagon.

 

It isn’t about the loss because I accept losses. It’s about what’s fair.

 

I couldn’t believe that talk about Jon Jones fighting Lesnar – that would have zero legitimacy. In society we punish people that do bad things. Why isn’t it the same in fighting?

 

The punishments need to be harsher. Two-to-five years for a first offence, then a life ban if you are caught again. A cheater doesn’t deserve anything.

 

 

WHAT I REALLY THINK ABOUT THE UFC

We need the Ali Act put in place. Fighters want to know what they’re worth.

 

It pisses me off when some fighters say, ‘It’s great to be part of the UFC, it pays the bills’. It doesn’t. That’s coming from one of the highest paid fighters in the world. These guys don’t get paid jack shit. For someone that makes $200,000-$300,000 a fight, half of that goes to tax and half again is for their camp. Then whatever’s left they’ve got to use for their mortgage. If you’ve worked your arse off to get in the top ten, you should be getting paid properly.

 

Even the champion, Stipe Miocic, is asking for more money. How the hell can the champion of the world be asking for a pay rise? Gegard Mousasi is another one. He moved to Bellator and it’s because these guys aren’t getting what they’re worth and they don’t know what the company is making off them.

 

I’m just speaking the truth; a lot of fighters are scared to.

 

 

 

ADVICE FOR MY SONS

With all the cheating that’s going on, I’d say go study. Do something else.

 

My oldest son and me have already spoken about that. He said he wanted to be a fighter like me but most guys and girls who try to become professional never make money off the sport. It’s okay for my son now because he is young but as you chase that dream, you’ll find a girl and have kids. Then it’s not just you in the hole. You’re all in the hole if you don’t make it and if you get one injury, you’re all screwed.

 

If you do make it, you’ve got to have the right team around you. A team that can help you keep it together. Because when you get to the top, that’s when you’ve got to really dig in. It’s about business then, and what you do with that money.

 

You could be making one million, two million, 10 million dollars a year fighting but spending $20 million. You see athletes and fighters struggle with it all the time – how they spend their money.

 

I’ll support my kids whatever they do, but they’ve got to understand it’s not easy to be one of the elite fighters.

 

 

I’M NOT READY TO WALK AWAY YET

Whenever I start something, I try to finish it. I’ve got three fights left. I want to win that world title.

 

It’s a dream of mine to be a mixed martial arts world champion. I’ve been the best fighter in the world at kickboxing – they can’t take that away from me – but when I started in MMA I realised how great this sport is. It’s the ultimate combat sport and that’s why I want to be the world’s best at it.

 

I’d be champ already if it wasn’t for the cheaters. I’d probably be retired, sitting at home playing video games all day, eating KFC. These guys couldn’t cut it with me if they weren’t cheating.

 

I’ve come close. I had my title shot in Mexico – I didn’t cut it but the circumstances weren’t right. I’m number six in the world right now and I feel I can do it in three fights.

 

But the next contract I sign I want to put a clause in – the Mark Hunt clause – where a fighter loses all his money if he is caught doping. That could be part of my legacy.

 

I’m still one of the best fighters on the planet. I honestly don’t care what anyone says. I’m knocking fools out.

 

I’m beating guys because that’s what I was born to do. Twenty seven years of fighting, 16 years at the top of two different sports – the oldest fighter on the planet and still going. Tell me I’m not good. I’m not arrogant. That’s just how I see it.

 

Mark Hunt  -  Contributor