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Mark Hunt on Alistair Overeem booking: The UFC ‘forced this fight on me’

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Heavyweight veteran Mark Hunt is fighting Alistair Overeem at UFC 209, but it’s certainly not by choice.

One of the marquee fights at UFC 209 is a heavyweight rematch between Mark Hunt and Alistair Overeem. Their first matchup was way back in July 2008, with Overeem submitting “The Super Samoan” at DREAM 5 in Japan. While these two are set to cross paths again, it’s certainly something that wasn’t in Hunt’s plans, as he told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. (Transcription via MMA Fighting)

“They put me in a position, like well what am I supposed to do?” Hunt said. “They forced this fight on me, pretty much.”

Hunt recently filed a lawsuit against the UFC, Brock Lesnar, and Dana White following the drug-testing fiasco at UFC 200. Lesnar had failed both his pre-fight and post-fight USADA tests, but his pre-fight test results weren’t released until after the event. The former heavyweight champion was granted an exemption for the otherwise mandatory four-month USADA testing period for returning UFC fighters.

Shortly after Lesnar’s failed tests were revealed, a livid Hunt threatened to walk from the UFC unless he received all of Lesnar’s $2.5 million purse. In October, Hunt’s lawyer, Christina Denning, had indicated that a lawsuit was possible, and then later said that Hunt had turned down a UFC 206 bout vs. Junior dos Santos.

With Denning and Hunt both alleging that the UFC had threatened breach of contract if the Overeem fight wasn’t accepted, the 42-year-old knockout specialist seemed resigned to having no other choice but to compete in the UFC again.

“I couldn't go anywhere else,” Hunt said. “That’s the position right now it is. If I couldn’t work anywhere else and I'm still trying to get my fair deal in this thing, what am I supposed to do? If they're going to let me go, let me go. At least I can go work somewhere else. I've gotta look after my family and my commitments as well. And they can't just sit me at the back of the bus without having any work. You can't do that.”

The full interview can be seen in the video at the top of the page. UFC 209: Woodley vs. Thompson 2 airs live on pay-per-view on Saturday, March 4th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.