Mark Hunt recently did an extended interview with Rogue Magazine and expounded on a number of subjects including Fedor, Kimbo, his beef with Zuffa, and being labeled a Soldier of Fortune for following the $$$.......
More after the jump.
Q. So tell us about the MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) deal with DREAM?
A. Now that the K1 thing is out of the way it's all good baby: all MMA and MMA only. These guys (DREAM) want me to fight Aleksander (Emelianeko) in about three weeks time on May 11th! I was like no way because it's too short a time with no training. I don't want risk fighting like that. But if they compensate me enough for taking that risk then it's all good and I'll fight. The money has to be right. DREAM plan was to see how Fedor (Emelianeko) goes and when and if he wins the DREAM title, and then I will fight him.
As a fan that has been waiting forever to see the Aleks vs Hunt slugfest finally go down, this is music to my ears. Sure, neither guy has much of a ground game to speak of but the stand-up will be of epic proportions. As for the Fedor re-match, it is possible they are looking at Hunt vs Fedor as a back up plan for the Fall, in case the Randy Couture vs Fedor fight falls through; if not, then Hunt-Fedor 2 would wait after until Fedor's rumored Dynamite showdown with Mirko, making it early '09.
Q. How about you in the UFC? What's the likelihood of that happening?
A. I don't know, not sure about that or them... they wasted my time after the whole Pride buy out promising everything under the sun and when that turned to crap, I waited for all that time and my contract came to nothing. However if the dollars are right then it's fight time...
Q. What do you mean by waiting for all that time after the Pride take over?
A. Once Pride was bought over, as someone on the Pride team I was promised all these fights and etc. which never happened. So it wasted a good chunk of my career and I was inactive. I could have done so much and fought good in that time. They owe me for that, I should have and could have very easily fought the top guys but that little episode didn't allow me to. I am a man of my word and I was messed around......So UFC should have kept good on their word- It's a real shame but that's the fight game.
Hunt may overstate the ill effects of the just under a year he was under Zuffa contract, but he makes several valid points here and in the remainder of the interview. Joachim Hansen was another Pride fighter that was being offered around half or a third of what their contracted payouts were under their Pride deals, and like Hunt was sidelined for the better part of 08. Honor the previous contracts , like they did with the WFA purchase, or give them a release......doing otherwise seems unfairly punitive.
Q. ROGUE coined you on the term "Soldier of Fortune"- you took some flack on internet forums for that, your thoughts?
A. Yeah I get that a bit. That's the way it is and honestly not too many people in this game do it for love. I am honest and up front about it. It's the way it is. Fighting professionally is good and always, I think of the money and do it. It's something you could get hurt doing so you need to be compensated for it. Look at how promoters and big companies like K1 make money off fighters and give the fans entertainment. So it's the way it is and yeah I am a mercenary as you called it, "Soldier of Fortune": you hit that sh*t on the money baby, love your work!
As much as the fans and (socialist) bloggers hate to hear it, Hunt hits it right on the button. While we often hear the arguments that money has ruined boxing and hopefully MMA guys won't be making the big money so that they will stay hungry, Mark boils down the whole fight game to one revolving around money. In a trade of body parts and brain cells for dollars and cents, I don't begrudge a fighter that drives the hardest bargain possible.
For more of the interview...including a possible match-up with Kimbo, check out the full interview at Rogue.