Hunt pulled from UFC Fight Night 121 over medical concerns

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is found in athletes with a history of repetitive symptomatic concussions as well as subconcussive hits to the head that do not cause symptoms. The first stage can begin eight to ten years after the fighter experiences repetitive, mild traumatic brain injury. It can and often does begin years after retirement. There are treatments, but no cure. And it is progressive.

According to Wiki, CTE occurs in four stages:
Stage 1 – Can include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, confusion, disorientation, dizziness, and headaches.
Stage 2 – Can include memory loss, social instability, impulsive behavior, and poor judgment.
Stage 3+4 – Can include progressive dementia, movement disorders, hypomimia, speech impediments, sensory processing disorder, tremors, vertigo, deafness, depression, and suicidality.

UFC heavyweight Mark has been fighting professionally for 19 years, compiling a record of 30-13 in kickboxing, 13-11 in MMA, and 1-1 in boxing. Within a year of kickboxing, Hunt was in the K-1 Grand Prix, going the distance with Jerome LeBanner. His first MMA fight was vs. Olympic Judo gold medalist Hidehiko Yoshida; third fight was Wanderlei Silva and fourth fight was CroCop.

In a recent interview with Australia’s Player’s Voice, Hunto revealed that he is suffering effects of fighting for so long.

“Sometimes I don’t sleep well,” he said. “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 s*** I did years and years ago. That’s just the price I’ve paid – the price of being a fighter.”

Hunt was scheduled to fight Marcin Tybura at UFC Fight Night 121 in Sydney, Australia, but he has been pulled from the fight, and will be replaced by Fabricio Werdum. Although the league did not spell it out, the connection is apparent.

“Due to medical concerns, heavyweight contender Mark Hunt has been removed from his UFC Fight Night main event bout against Marcin Tybura on Nov. 19,” said the UFC in a statement.

Hunt responded first with a curse-laden message on his social network. He then followed up by arguing he was misquoted in the article, and that he is fine.

“I spent hours the other day with the doctors,” he began. “I was cleared to fight the interview I did with players voice was misquoted I don’t slur my words and is a is a running joke between my wife and me my memory isn’t that great but who remembers s*** they don’t want to not good.”

“I’m disappointed that I have been withdrawn from the fight,” Hunt continued. “I have passed all medicals 2 days ago. And spent 100,000* on camp. 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 bulls*** f*** you Dana, you’ve always hated me you dog.”

Unfortunately for Hunt, no responsible sports organization would have done anything but exactly what the UFC did. Given the progressive and incurable nature of CTE, when a fighter says he is suffering from symptoms of it, a response like this is the sole responsible option. If indeed Hunt was exaggerating for the sake of a compelling story, then he can better make the case in time. And if he is starting to slur his words, he shouldn’t fight anymore. Unfortunately, if the UFC releases him, unscrupulous fight organizations will sign him in a moment.

*Approximately US$75,000