Mark Hunt caused a buzz a few weeks ago, when he tweeted, "Not my choice guys but going from being exited at the prospects of the future of fighting to being unemployed in a day lol this sucks." Some read the message as one of Hunt's many jokes to stir up his fans and the media, others wondered if he'd been cut, and there was even some talk that he might have suddenly decided to pull the plug on his long combat sports career. Hunt later explained the tweets away as the result of a low-carb diet, but it looks like potential retirement was a lot closer to the truth. He revealed the source of his 'unemployment' tweet to the Sunday Star in New Zealand.
"When I started, it was all about money. Now I don't care. It was kinda backward when I started.
"I love the sport, I love fighting."
And yet he almost walked away earlier this month.
Hunt wanted a three-fight contract, UFC wanted eight; they settled on six after an ominous Hunt tweet about becoming unemployed caused a brief kerfuffle.
He doesn't want to talk about the wrangling, beyond admitting his wife talked him around. "She brought me back to reality. I didn't make an emotional decision, I made a decision based on business. I nearly made the biggest mistake of my life. I could have never fought again. I am glad things worked out and I am glad to have UFC as my employers."
Hunt was lucky, in some respects, that he's one of a very select few fighters in a position to leverage his status in contract negotiations. A marketable star, set to headline a show that the UFC has put a lot of push behind (even if it will air on Fight Pass in the States), Hunt may have chosen the perfect time to push back against the UFC brass in pursuit of a better deal. Of course, had it not worked out, who knows? We may have witnessed the end of Mark Hunt as a combat sports athlete, instead.