White recalls early history with Mark Hunt
On Thursday, UFC President Dana White revealed just how close Hunt was to not even being in the UFC, let alone one more big win away from a shot at a belt. Hunt took the fight with Dos Santos only after White assured him that things he was upset about would be fixed.
Chief among those things? That the UFC didn’t want to give him fights, but instead was willing to pay him the money owed him on his contract to just walk away.
“He felt very disrespected and felt like he never really belonged here,” White said. “He had a losing record in PRIDE and we didn’t want to bring him into the UFC, so we said, ‘We’ll pay you the money and you can ride off into the sunset and do your thing.’ And he was like, ‘F— that. I want to be paid to fight.’ First of all, a losing record, his age, the guy hadn’t fought in a long time. It just made no sense to bring the guy in.”
But Hunt stood his ground.
“He fought it and fought it and fought it, and finally we said, ‘Fine. You wanna earn the money and fight for the money, come on in,'” White recalled.